Wilton “Bogey” Gaynair, born on January 11, 1927, in Kingston, Jamaica, was an accomplished jazz saxophonist known for his warm, lyrical tone and exceptional technique. Though not as widely recognized as some of his contemporaries, Gaynair’s contributions to the world of jazz, particularly in Europe, have left a lasting impression on the genre.
Gaynair began his musical journey at the age of 18 when he started playing the saxophone. He studied at the renowned Alpha Boys School in Kingston, a Catholic institution known for its strong music program that produced many notable Jamaican musicians. In 1953, Gaynair decided to move to London, England, to pursue a career in music and further develop his skills as a saxophonist.
Upon his arrival in London, Gaynair quickly established himself as a respected figure in the city’s jazz scene. He joined several bands, including Kenny Graham’s Afro-Cubists, and performed regularly at the famous Club Eleven. Gaynair’s exceptional musicianship earned him a spot in several other jazz ensembles, such as the Vic Lewis Orchestra and the Ted Heath Band.
In 1959, Wilton Gaynair relocated to Germany, where he continued to make a name for himself as a skilled and versatile saxophonist. He performed with various orchestras and ensembles, including the Kurt Edelhagen Orchestra and the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band, sharing the stage with renowned jazz musicians like Jimmy Deuchar and Dusko Goykovich.
As a leader, Gaynair recorded a small number of albums, which showcased his immense talent and unique sound. Notably, his 1959 album, “Blue Bogey,” received critical acclaim and is considered by many as a hidden gem in the world of jazz. The album highlights Gaynair’s smooth, melodic playing style and his ability to captivate listeners with his expressive saxophone sound.
Throughout his career, Wilton Gaynair performed with many great jazz musicians, including Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones, and Tubby Hayes. Despite his talent and the respect he earned from his peers, Gaynair remains an underrated figure in jazz history.
Wilton Gaynair passed away on February 13, 1995, in Cologne, Germany. His contributions to jazz, particularly in Europe, continue to inspire musicians and enthusiasts who discover his work. While he may not have received the widespread recognition he deserved during his lifetime, Gaynair’s musical legacy lives on, and his impact on the genre remains an important part of jazz history.
Last updated 3/18/2023.