WE ARE NOW OUT TO SHOW WHO WE REALLY ARE THROUGH JAZZ - PAUL & GEORGE WILTSHIRE
Paul Wiltshire met an unknown prophet who told him he will work on a project in February that will take his life to the next level. He didn’t believe that initially but now in February he's about to release his first jazz album with his younger brother, George.
George Wiltshire actually began his musical journey before his brother back in St. Gregory's College, Lagos in 1973. That was when he started playing the guitar. After the popular Ofege, it was their own band, New Generation that came out of Greg's.
The group became the second school band to release an album in Nigeria. The album was titled "Needle in the haystack".
After Greg's, George went to the University of Lagos. While still at Unilag, he joined his brother Paul in the University of Ife to form the group "Brakes" they produced the album titled "Fire Girl" while the band was adjudged the Best University band at the University Music Competition, that album was later produced by Ben Murray-Bruce also an old boy of St. Gregory's College. The band members were later separated. Paul came back home recently after 17 years in the U.S. The twins, Taiwo and Kehinde Ogunyemi are now into Gospel music. About 8 years ago, they recorded an album in the U.K. George featured on the CD with his jazzy guitar style.
While George was playing music then, he was making a mark in the game, Cricket. He played for Nigeria and West Africa. He worked in the Ministry of Information for 9 years and later moved to EIB International Bank (one of the banks that merged to become Skye Bank ) where he retired as an Assistant General Manager.
Now with Paul back from Atlanta, U.S.A it is the wish of the Wiltshire’s to continue their musical journey and now strictly jazz. They are in the studio right now to release their debut album titled "Ocean Wind". But why jazz? George replied "when I started playing music, I was listening to George Benson, Carlos Santana and so on at that early age. With jazz, there's a lot of improvisation. It's huge. You can not play exactly like another instrumentalist. You have your identity but with pop music, there's really no identity. With Ocean Wind, we try to bring out who we really are".
Paul Wiltshire was born on 30th April, 1958 as George's elder brother. April is another jazzy month when quite a number of jazz greats where born. Paul started picking up interest in music in 1974 after listening to George and the Ofeges. His left-handedness posed a little problem for him. He's still left-handed though, "I couldn't comprehend me playing the guitar upside down. It was so frustrating. I couldn't. So that handicapped me in playing the rhythm or lead guitar". So he settled for the bass guitar. According to him, his younger brother George showed him some bass line, playing his own guitar upside down. The guitar was acoustic. The first tune he taught him was "Master piece" by Temptations.
He started from there. He left C.M.S Grammar School in 1975 and picked a job with the Federal Ministry of Works as a clerk for about 3 years before he went to study Business Administration in Yaba College of Technology in 1979. He opted out for lack of interest. In 1980, he moved to the University of Ife to study Art. It was there he met the twins, Minsa Egbe and Wole Alade, a saxophonist. That was how they formed the band, Brakess. Paul said before then, they had been listening to a lot of jazz music, watching the brothers' Johnson play live increased his interest to play the bass. He saw Stanley Clark play live in Atlanta.
However, after his Youth Corps Service in Abuja he worked with Insight Communications for a year and later became an Art teacher in Federal Government College, Jos for 3 years. It was when he left in 1990 that the rave of the moment, Asa, came to that school. After that, he worked with Soni and Betty Irabor in Ruyi Communications as their artist for a year. Soon after that, he left for the United States of America on 23rd March 1991 on Invitation from his sister. Right there in Atlanta, U.S. he joined a group called "Vision" which never recorded any album. There was so much argument among the members, so Paul left the Sextet for Nigeria.
Paul now has 2 guitars. The first one he calls Blue Angel while the other was presented to him 3 months ago by a friend Tony Igbebor an ex-Gregorian. Tony forgot Paul was left-handed that he had to change the 5-string bass guitar for the right one. The presentation of the guitar was formally done in St. Gregory's College on the 24th of January, 2009. Paul later called his brother George and said "Now that we got all the instruments, we need to be playing" George replied "Yea! Yea!" So, he now surprised me. He said "Paul come and listen, i just did a jazz recording. Do you remember Ocean Wind? Paul replied, "I don't remember" George went on "I composed it in 1978.”Paul later heard it and said "I now remember it" he also called George and reminded him of another old song they composed. That's how 6 of such songs were put together in their neighbors’ studio within a week. According to Paul, this is the beginning of a new experience just as they started "Brakes". The only difference is that it's now time for jazz for the Wiltshire’s.
Paul has been in Nigeria over a year now and he sees the jazz scene as getting better. He however calls for more frequent play of jazz songs just like other genres of music are given adequate air-time on radio and TV.
Paul and George Wiltshire now have 7 songs which they intend to put on the internet.
According to George, they are now ready to promote these songs and look out for live performances. He said the tracks on the “Ocean Wind” project have been there for over 2 decades. They are titled “The things you do” “Feelings that we share” “Yemoja (Goddess of the river)” “Outstanding love (jazz funk)” “Finger prints” (sounding more like spyrogyra), Ocean Wind and Instrumental version of Feelings that we share, as bonus track. All songs composed by George Wiltshire.
George said it’s not so much of the commercial stuff now. “We want to be heard. That’s why we are doing this project. You’ve seen me in the corporate world in the banking industry. I have a Masters Degree in International Relations. I played cricket for Nigeria and West Africa. So, I’m all-rounded. This time I want you to hear something different. This is the same George now coming out with a jazz project”. He said he’s now into Real Estate and he has time for concerts both home and abroad. Yes, the Wiltshire’s will be everywhere henceforth doing the right music, the real jazz. You need to check them out if you love real jazz and let the “Ocean Wind” blow your mind.