Matt Wilson's reputation as a creative artist precedes him. His strong leadership has produced several fine ensembles with excellent performing credentials. He's served as the backbone for many stellar sessions.
With Terrell Stafford, Dennis Irwin and Larry Goldings, the drummer has assembled one of the finest straight-ahead quartets around. Each has his own unique voice, and each shines brightly on Wake Up!.
As Curtis Stigers joins them for "There Comes a Time," you feel the soulful airs that flow from this ensemble. It's the title track. Stingers sings of social direction and personal reaction. Carrying a part of New Orleans in their performance, Wilson's Arts & Crafts band digs in and moves this heartfelt piece forcefully. Emotions are bared, and the song appeals to the listener's intellect. Wake Up! becomes an anthem for our future.
Stafford opens up on this album. He releases beautiful shades of blue and gold: blue for his mellow melodies and gold for the value perceived in his interpretations. With Wilson and company, the trumpeter stands out as a shining star to herald the celebration of mainstream jazz.
Goldings, too, provides an immeasurable force that brings the quartet's performance to the masses. With organ on Charlie Haden's "Silence," he delivers a highly creative soliloquy that grabs you by the arm and rests a comforting hand on your shoulder. With piano on Jaki Byard's "Aluminum Baby," he sparkles in the mellow sunshine of daybreak as the quartet expounds upon the state of straight-ahead jazz.
Wilson leads his all-star ensemble through some highly creative territory, yet he never loses sight of the tradition that has followed us for a century. Improvisation and swing remain high on this leader's list. Recommended, his latest album serves the state of modern jazz well.
Personnel: Matt Wilson- drums; Terrell Stafford- trumpet, flugelhorn; Larry Goldings- piano, organ; Dennis Irwin- bass, clarinet on "Cuban Carnival Song;" Curtis Stigers- vocal on "There Comes a Time."