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Subject: John S. Wilson, 89; Music Critic, Author of Books on Jazz History

cause of death not yet known
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Date Posted: August 30, 2002 6:15:20 EDT

John S. Wilson, 89, the first New York Times critic to write exclusively about popular music and jazz, died Tuesday in Princeton, N.J. The cause of death was not reported.

Wilson, who remained a freelance writer throughout his career, began contributing to the Times in 1952.

He covered everything from cabaret to the folk revival, but was best known for his writing on jazz. Saxophonist Sonny Rollins named "John S.," a song on his album "The Bridge," in his honor.

Born in Elizabeth, N.J., Wilson earned his bachelor's degree at Wesleyan University and his master's in journalism from Columbia University.

He served in the Army during World War II, editing a base newspaper and a military women's journal.

After the war, he worked as an editor and columnist for the newspaper PM and was the New York editor of the jazz magazine Down Beat.

He also wrote for High Fidelity magazine and Video Review.

Wilson hosted several jazz-oriented radio shows, including "Jazz Today," on Voice of America.

He was the author of "The Collector's Jazz: Traditional and Swing" (1958); "The Collector's Jazz: Modern" (1959) and "Jazz: The Transition Years, 1940-1960" (1966).

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