Blue Note recently launched a series of recordings on which the artist selects the musiccalled, appropriately enough, "The Artist Selects." Gerald Wilson, who made several strong records for Pacific Jazz in the sixties, gets his due on this compilation. Wilson brings some sentiment into his selections. There is a tune that he wrote for his wife, three that were inspired by his daughters, and four that were the consequence of meeting bullfighters he admired.
Wilson composes uses different styles, and his arrangements place the compositions up front and center. And with big bands featuring some of the finest musicians, Wilson's music is a heady and soul satisfying treat.
Wilson was the first in the modern era to incorporate the organ into a big band. Richard "Groove" Holmes appears on the first three tracks. He helms the intro to "Blues For Yna Yna," on which he goes into two exhilarating solos, one riffing the blues and the other laying down extended improvised lines. The lively tune also gets a kick from trumpet and tenor sax solos, the latter particularly heated in the quick changes it essays.
Joe Pass fits snugly in on one of the best tunes, the bebop-aired "Nancy Jo." The groove is first lit by Carmell Jones on trumpet and then stoked by Harold Land on tenor sax. Pass lets his notes fall like molten lava, and while they are hot, they are also clean and spirited. And, of course, the panoply of horns completes the enticement.
The Lighthouse was a club where the band played regularly, and "Lighthouse Blues" comes from the album called On Stage, which was actually recorded in the Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. The tune captures the mood of the band, elevated by the horn section, Roy Ayers' vibraphone playing, Land's deep touch of the blues, and a pithy dissection of the melody by Harold Meeks on trumpet.
A compact and enlightening overview of Wilson and his music.
Personnel: Gerald Wilson: arranger, trumpet; Al Porcino: trumpet; Carmell Jones: trumpet; Freddie
Hill: trumpet; Ray Triscari: trumpet; Jimmy Zito: trumpet; John Audino: trumpet; Jules
Chaikin: trumpet; Nat Meeks: trumpet; Melvin Moore: trumpet; Bobby Bryant: trumpet;
Jimmy Owens: trumpet; Bob Edmondson: trombone; Lester Robertson: trombone; John
Ewing: trombone; Frank Strong: trombone; Lou Blackburn: trombone; Kenny Shroyer: bass
trombone; Bob Knight: bass trombone: Don Switzer: bass trombone; Ernie Tack: bass
trombone; Buddy Collette: clarinet, flute, alto sax; Bud Shank: alto sax, flute; Harry Klee:
alto sax; Joe Maini: alto sax; Jimmy Woods: alto sax, soprano sax; Anthony Ortega: alto
sax; Harold Land: tenor sax; Teddy Edwards: tenor sax; Curtis Amy: tenor sax; Walter
Benton: tenor sax; Jack Nimitz: baritone sax; Don Raffell: baritone sax; William Green:
flute, piccolo; Joe Pass: guitar; Gene Edwards: guitar; Jack Wilson: piano, organ; Phil Moore,
III: piano; Richard "Groove" Holmes: organ; Leroy Vinnegar: bass; Victor Gaskin: bass;
Jimmy Bond: bass; Herbie Lewis: bass; Buddy Woodson: bass; Mel Lewis: drums; Chuck
Carter: drums; Mel Lee: drums; Roy Ayers: vibraphone; Modesto Duran: congas; Max