Teddy Wilson built his style as jazz pianist upon the influences of Earl Hines, Fats Waller, and Art Tatum. This was a matter of swinging single note lines. He was a pioneer of be-bop and tremendously influenced piano players of his time.

By the early 1930s he had played with Louis Armstrong and Benny Carter. In 1935 he was founding member of the Benny Goodman Trio, the first interracial group of the Swing era and played in various versions of Goodman's groupings.

His work with Billie Holiday in the late 1930s and early 1940s was her best era, before she began to parody her own style.

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