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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash: Duologue

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Saxophone and drum duos aren't as rare as some might believe, but a good percentage of such encounters are challenging, left-leaning affairs. John Coltrane's edgy encounters with Rashied Ali on Interstellar Space (Impulse!, 1974) emboldened many in the so-called avant-garde to marry these instruments time and again over the ensuing decades, yet few centrists seem as interested or willing to explore that territory. That's why a recording such as this, featuring man-for-all-seasons saxophonist Steve Wilson and paragon-of-class drummer Lewis Nash, is so special. Nash, an occasional leader and first-call side man who's worked with everybody from vocalist ...

INTERVIEWS

Steve Wilson: Lifetime of Study

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[ Editor's Note: The following interview is reprinted from George Colligan's blog, Jazztruth] I'm very happy to have the opportunity to interview a musician that I've worked with a lot over the years. When people say that a musician has worked with everybody in the business, Steve Wilson has literally worked with everyone in jazz. It would be hard to name somebody that he hasn't worked with in jazz. I feel like this is kind of a coup from my jazz blog, which is in the early stages. George Colligan: I feel like we could talk ...

Steve Wilson: "Music education is in crisis"

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"I think jazz education, frankly, is in crisis."Saxophonist Steve Wilson voiced this strong opinion in response to a recent article about the effects that budget cuts have had on many American school music programs. Sitting in a practice room at Juilliard, he shared his concerns about the current state of music education and how he has watched things change over the last 20 years.An accomplished musician, Wilson is also an educator who has served on the faculties of some of the country's finest music schools, including Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, and SUNY Purchase. His students' ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bruce Barth / Steve Wilson: Home

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The increase in house concerts throughout the country is apparent, taking place in big cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Baltimore, as well as in smaller towns such as Columbia, Missouri, where this recorded duo date took place. Appearing at the home of Barbara Tellerman and Allyn Sher in 2009, pianist Bruce Barth and saxophonist Steve Wilson created some excellent music with vibrantly alive sound quality.

Barth and Wilson have been playing together since they met in New York in the late eighties, mostly alongside each other in groups. This is the first time, though, that they have recorded ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Potter / Steve Wilson / Terell Stafford / Keith Javors / Delbert Felix / John Davis: Coming Together

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Brendan Edward Romaneck was a young twenty-four-year-old saxophonist and composer preparing for his first recording date in the spring of 2005, when on April 20th he passed away just two weeks after his birthday. Coming Together was to be Romaneck's debut disc, containing eight original compositions and three covers. It now serves as a tribute to the young man, when his parents moved forward with the project in memory of their son. Romaneck had already lined up trumpeter Terell Stafford, bassist Delbert Felix, drummer John Davis and pianist Keith Javors--a primary influence on Romaneck's writing. For the lead saxophone parts, ...

INTERVIEWS

Steve Wilson: Consummate Pro

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Saxophonist Steve Wilson, one of the bright talents on the New York City--or any--scene, understands the value of music education. He's very involved in it. He also understands the importance of mentorship, which comes from his days hanging out with some jazz giants at his days as student at Virginia Commonwealth University, and later doing the same when he arrived as a young man in New York City and started to expand an already growing reputation.

Even with his experiences as an educator, a highly regarded sideman, and a bandleader, he understands--and relishes--that he is still ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Generations, Live at the Kennedy Center Jazz Club

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Generations: Steve Wilson, Billy Childs, Ray Drummond and Ben Riley Kennedy Center Jazz Club Washington, DC October 22, 2005Those of you who know Steve Wilson will probably wonder what cave I've been living in, but this club date was my introduction to the saxophonist, as well as Kennedy Center's KC Jazz Club. I certainly knew the work of his rhythm section: Billy Childs on piano, Ray Drummond on bass and Ben Riley on drums. As Wilson said early on, he was “walking with giants."

With a beautiful tone to boot, on both ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Wilson: Soulful Sound

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MaxJazz, once touted as a "boutique label," now can boast being a full fledged jazz label with a vision. Beginning with the Vocal Series, then the Piano Series, and now the Horn Series, the label continues to pave new inroads into jazz performance and marketing. Inaugurating the new Horn Series is multi-instrumentalist Steve Wilson. But after listening to this disc, one would think the series should be called "Horn Vocals" (preempting the upcoming "Piano Vocals" series initiated by Patti Wicks). Nevertheless, Mr. Wilson assembles a superb set of songs, singers and players for his debut as a leader on the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Wilson: Soulful Song

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Saxophonist Steve Wilson's extensive experience with the Mingus Big Band and Chick Corea's Origin make up only a shadow of the vast array of musical influences on his definition of jazz. His career has carried him to all facets of the jazz world: some adventurous and some laid back. Soulful Song represents a theme. The leader has brought his favorite sounds together into one album. Of his inspiration for this kind of musical celebration, Wilson says, “On the same [radio] station one could experience the best of R&B, jazz, blues, gospel, comedy, and social commentary."

Where “Reasons" issues smoothly with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Wilson: Passages

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Among some talented peers that would have to include Kenny Garrett and Jon Gordon, Steve Wilson is arguably one of the best alto saxophonists on the scene today. But it goes beyond that, because he has also established a unique approach to the soprano saxophone as well as the flute. Following his four decidedly mainstream affairs for Criss Cross and his first effort for Stretch, Generations, Wilson's sophomore release for Chick Corea's imprimatur is surely his most realized project yet as a leader. Both in his writing and playing, not to mention the company he keeps, Wilson has arrived at ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Wilson: Passages

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Steve Wilson's second Stretch release is a triumph. It's more focused than 1998's Generations in that Wilson employs his regular working band this time around: pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Ed Howard, drummer Adam Cruz, and guest trumpeter Nicholas Payton. All the music is, in a word, alive. There are nine Wilson originals, one by Barth ("The Lexter," among the best), and one by Keith Jarrett ("Days and Nights Waiting"). Every track is full of color--melodically, harmonically, rhythmically. The band delivers crackling, bright swing on “Turnin' the Corner" and “The Lexter"; mournful alto-flute balladry on “Grace"; ambitious odd-metered grooving on “Q-B-Rab"; ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Wilson: Passages

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With a straight-ahead ensemble playing mostly his own compositions, Steve Wilson moves between straight-ahead jazz and the more involved modern mainstream in groups of two, three, four and five. There’s something special added to each arrangement to make it unique. On “Eye of the Beholder," for instance, Wilson weaves in and out of modal harmonic situations while his supporting piano trio plays it straight. Steel pans are added for a unique melodic effect. “Q-B-Rab" struts with a super-confident New Orleans shuffle while unexpected dissonant chords punctuate the affair. Payton and Wilson trade fours with considerable thought given to free expression. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Wilson: Generations

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A glance at the personnel list confirms that Steve Wilson assembled a gold-standard rhythm section for his debut recording on Chick Corea's Stretch label. Miller, Drummond and Riley are about as seasoned as they come. Wilson himself is one of those enterprising and technically competent players with whom--for some murky reason--I am simply unable to connect on an emotional level, which is where one's response to music of any kind is usually sequestered. Miller, Drummond and Riley praise Wilson highly, and that should count for more than a reviewer's opinion, anyway. As for what they produce as a unit, it's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Wilson: Generations

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Alto saxophonist Steve Wilson’s modern mainstream quartet spans generations with respect to career accomplishments, but the music is timeless. Sixty-five year old drummer Ben Riley came up in the 1950s and ‘60s with Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, and Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis. Fifty-one year old bassist Ray Drummond came up in the 1970s and ‘80s with Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson. Forty-three year old pianist Mulgrew Miller came up in the 1980s with Art Blakey, while thirty-seven year old saxophonist Steve Wilson came up in the 1990s with Renee Rosnes, Louie Bellson, the Mingus Big Band, and others. On his 5th ...



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