Wilbert Longmire
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Wilbert Longmire

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter

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WILBERT LONGMIRE-GUITARIST
Biography

A legend in musical circles in Cincinnati, Ohio, whose career has spanned 49 years, Wilbert Longmire is, according to guitarist Dave Stryker, a hero on the guitar. Known locally, nationally, and internationally, Wilbert is a consummate musician who can easily cross the musical genres of jazz, pop, R&B, and blues on his beloved Gibson L5.

Born in Mobile, AL, at 3 his family moved to Cincinnati’s West End, the spawning ground for many well-known musicians, and the place where Wilbert began his musical life. His first instruction in music appreciation came while learning classical music(violin) in grade school by an early mentor, his music teacher. Interested in many instruments early on, the guitar became his instrument of choice, realizing it was the instrument that allowed him the freedom to improvise and stretch beyond the notes on a musical chart. Wilbert began playing with local bands and singing groups, appearing at the famed Regal Theater with various groups such as Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ike and Tina Turner, Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield. His talent caught the attention of rock ‘n roll sax honker Red Prysock. Red Prysock recruited the 17-year old, and under his tutelage, Wilbert began his journey as professional touring musician. Within a year he was music director for Red Prysock, and began leading the band for soul great Jackie Wilson. Performing as a sideman and music director during the Sixties in New York and around the world, Wilbert toured and/or worked with jazz legends Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Sonny Stitt, Rashaan Roland Kirk, Roy Ayers, Herbie Mann, Elvin Jones, Lou Donaldson, Grant Green, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Billy Eckstine, Lou Rawls, Jimmy Smith and In 1965 he joined “Brother” Jack McDuff replacing George Benson. But it was with organist Hank Marr that he made his first appearance on record, Hank Marr Live at the 502, and began a close association and musical kinship that thrives today. Wilbert credits Jackie Wilson as the man who taught him about stage behavior and presence. But Hank Marr taught him about great arranging, and performing at the highest level of talent and skill. With the many experiences he garnered under his belt, Wilbert began to get his own musical ideas and decided to branch out as a leader.

In 1969 he signed with United Artist Records and recorded the album Revolution,
featuring the song Scarborough Fair . It went as high as #1 in certain markets across the US and abroad, raising Wilbert’s status and reputation to international acclaim. Despite replacing him in “Brother” Jack McDuff’s band, Wilbert and George Benson began a friendship in the Sixties that continues today. It was George Benson who introduced him to legendary pianist Bob James, who signed Wilbert as one of the first artists on the Tappan Zee label, a division of Columbia Records. His Tappan Zee debut release in 1978, Sunny Side Up, showcased him as a strong vocalist, compelling writer and a gifted and imaginative guitarist.
He followed up in 1979 with the release, Champagne, and in 1980 With All My Love. On the heels of these releases, he toured and worked with artists such as Bob James, Patty Austin, Harvey Mason, David Sanborn, Teddy Pendergrass, Frankie Beverly & Maze, Midnight Star, Ahmad Jamal, Stanley Turrentine, Stanley Clark, and George Duke.

Always wanting to mentor and encourage those interested in music, Wilbert decided to work with young musicians in his hometown of Cincinnati. He began to work with and produce local artists, and he parlayed his experiences into music business seminars that he conducted under his own talent development company. The many artists who are alumni of the Longmire finishing school include multiplatinum producers/writers/ performers Reggie and Vincent Calloway, formerly of Midnight Star, jazz guitarist Aurell Ray, P-Funk drummer Frankie “Kash” Waddy, The Deele, the R&B group that spawned Antonio “LA” Reid, formerly of the Deele and Laface who is currently the head of Arista Records, guitarist Sheldon Reynolds of Earth, Wind, and Fire, vocalist and pianist Odeen Mays of Kool & the Gang, and Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer Bootsy Collins. Bootsy Collins credits James Brown and Wilbert Longmire as his earliest music mentors.

Today, though still recording and performing regionally, nationally, and internationally, Wilbert continues to channel his energy and experience working with young musicians, teaching them everything from guitar, piano, vocals, technique, and behavior on stage. For his continuing role as a mentor as well as a masterful musician, Wilbert Longmire was awarded the 2001 Michael W. Bany Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cincinnati Cammy Association. And received from Governor Earnie Fletcher (Ky) the highest award in Kentucky (Dec 12th 2006) making him a Kentucky Colonel.

Wilbert was also nominated and accepted to Marquis’s “Who who of the Midwest (84-85) 19th Edition (pg. 535 paragraph 4.)

Wilbert hosted his own radio show in Cincinnati Ohio “Jazzflight” at Wcin radio 1480 Am radio

And has opened a music school “ Millies House of Music, a Not-for –Profit 501c.3 to honor his mother, the late Mildred C. Longmire Nichols

In 2009, Wilbert was the opening act for Cincinnati’s annual event, “The Macy’s Festival, Headliner was Anita Baker, The OJays. In addition, he opened for Frankie Beverly & Maze at “The 1st Annual Labor Day Festival”, in Cincinnati and returned in 2010 to open for BabyFace, The Deele, Tony Terry and many others.

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Two of his motto’s are: “ It pays to work hard and hard work always pay “
“ Its impossible to help someone, without helping yourself “
- Susan Johnson


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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