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Matt Wilson's Arts And Crafts: An Attitude For Gratitude (2012)

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Matt Wilson's Arts And Crafts: An Attitude For Gratitude How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Drummer Matt Wilson may be the supreme human confluence of technique, swing, spirit, humor and musicality. Over the past 20 years, Wilson has proven to be one of a select few that can balance an inside/outside aesthetic, often within a single piece of music. He has helped shape the music of Dewey Redman
Dewey Redman
Dewey Redman
b.1931
sax, tenor
, Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
Charlie Haden
1937 - 2014
bass, acoustic
, Either/Orchestra
Either/Orchestra
Either/Orchestra
b.1985
band/orchestra
, Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
b.1927
sax, alto
, Denny Zeitlin
Denny Zeitlin
Denny Zeitlin
b.1938
piano
and many others, but his own body of recorded work highlights his unique personality and musical perspective better than any sideman date in his discography.

Wilson has built a strong body of work with both of his quartets—his namesake group and Arts And Crafts—during his fifteen year association with the Palmetto label. An Attitude for Gratitude stands as a fine addition to that list. While half of the personnel has changed since the advent of this group (bassist Martin Wind
Martin Wind
Martin Wind
b.1968
bass, acoustic
taking over for the late Dennis Irwin
Dennis Irwin
Dennis Irwin
1951 - 2008
bass
and keyboardist Gary Versace
Gary Versace
Gary Versace

organ, Hammond B3
picking up where Larry Goldings
Larry Goldings
Larry Goldings
b.1968
keyboard
left off), the overall, "open-to-anything" vision of the band remains intact.

Arts & Crafts shifts from off-centered, sprightly moving music (Versace's "Poster Boy") to slow and sweet balladry ("Happy Days Are Here Again") with ease, but that's only the beginning. Nat Adderley
Nat Adderley
Nat Adderley
1931 - 2000
trumpet
's "Little Boy With The Sad Eyes" is a swinging showcase for strong solo personalities, John Scofield
John Scofield
John Scofield
b.1951
guitar
's "You Bet" proves to be an enthusiastic, tropically tinged affair, and trumpeter Terell Stafford
Terell Stafford
Terell Stafford
b.1966
trumpet
's tender solo performance of "There's No You" serves as a heartfelt tribute to Irwin, who often sang the tune when he performed with this band.

While Wilson's vision guides the band at every turn, his three compositional contributions showcase his outer thinking. "No Outerwear" is a jaunty escapade that proves to be the most normal of the three, while "Stolen Time" is a demonstration of musicians managing to connect while acting in their own loose, free-moving orbits, One of the album's most intriguing "Bubbles" is ten songs in one, the drummer delivering some solo histrionics, the band engaging in wind-up-and-wind-down maneuvers, Stafford and Versace (wielding his accordion) creating an off-kilter gondola lullaby, and Wilson reciting the Carl Sandburg poem that gives this track its name and represents the album's theme. Elsewhere, the leader moves to the background to let his band mates shine, with Stafford delivering soothing flugelhorn performances, Versace playing a peaceful rendition of Paul Simon
Paul Simon
Paul Simon
b.1941
composer/conductor
's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," and Wind driving Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
1951 - 1987
bass, electric
' "Teen Town," which features a brief yet strong bass solo near the top.

Wilson plays his drums with flair and a sense of artistry that's second to none, but he does far more than that on An Attitude For Gratitude. He also plays his mind, rather than playing up to conventions of any kind, and his mind is a wonderful thing to behold.


Track Listing: Poster Boy; Happy Days Are Here Again; Little Boy With The Sad Eyes; You Bet; Bubbles; Cruise Blues; No Outerwear; Teen Town; There's No You; Stolen Time; Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Personnel: Terell Stafford: trumpet, flugelhorn; Gary Versace: piano, organ, accordion; Martin Wind: bass; Matt Wilson: drums, spoken word vocals.

Record Label: Palmetto Records

Style: Modern Jazz


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