One of the only jazzmen whose nickname commonly shows up on backstage riders, Robert "Juice" Wilson was at 14 years old already performing with bandleaders such as trumpeter Freddie Keppard. He had been orphaned 11 years earlier, an uncle in Chicago stepping in to raise the lad in a suitably swinging environment. Musically, Wilson's first move was to play drums in the intimidating-sounding Chicago Militia Boys Band. He picked up violin at the age of eight; gigs with a band led by Jimmy Wade even predate the aforementioned Keppard capers by at least two years. The precocious violinist carried on working in whatever venues were available, from steamboats in perpetual motion on the Great Lakes to a long residency with Jimmy Harrison, beginning in Toledo and then carrying on in Columbus, OH. From there Wilson bowed his way to Erie and an ensemble fronted by Hersal Brassfield. Buffalo became Wilson's new home base at the outset of the Roaring Twenties. In this period, he collaborated consistently with Eugene Primus as well as working with the Buffalo Junior Symphony Orchestra. By 1928 he headed for the Big Apple itself, joining up with Lloyd W. Scott's Symphonic Syncopaters at venues such as the Savoy Ballroom.