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Bennie Calvin Wilson, Jr
August 26, 1953 ~ August 29, 2023 (age 70) 70 Years Old
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Known professionally as “Calvin Wilson,” Bennie Calvin Wilson, Jr. died in the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at his home in Fairview Heights, Illinois. He had just turned 70. Beginning in the 1980s, Calvin wrote for the Kansas City Star and eventually became the Star’s jazz critic. In 2000, he took a position at the St. Louis Post Dispatch where he worked as an arts and entertainment writer from 2000 to 2023.
While at the Kansas City Star, he accepted a fellowship to attend the 1997-1998 National Arts Journalism program at Columbia University in New York. He also contributed a section on the most prominent late Twentieth Century musicians to a book -- Jazz: The First Century -- edited and published in 2000 by John Edward Hasse of the Smithsonian Institution. He was given the opportunity to expose the public to his favorite music through “Somethin’ Else,” a radio program devoted to themed presentations of jazz styles and influences. This was a weekly broadcast on Classical 107.3 (The Radio Arts Foundation). In addition, he had a short story published in St. Louis Noir, a compilation of St. Louis based crime fiction edited by Scott Philips and released by Akashic Books in 2016.
Throughout his career, Calvin proved himself to be the quintessential “arts and entertainment writer.” His reviews and articles covered jazz, books, art openings, movies, dance and finally theater.
He is survived by his spouse of 33 years, Jeanne Ortega; his niece Kara Mueller of St. Louis and his nephew Kenneth Toomer of San Diego.
Memorials can be sent to either Dance St. Louis or Cinema St. Louis.