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Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family: Beginning of a Memory

Angelo Leonardi By

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Un anno dopo la morte della moglie per leucemia, il batterista Matt Wilson ha riunito i membri dei suoi tre gruppi, The Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts e Christmas Tree-O, per una commemorazione che prende spunto dai funerali d'inizio secolo a New Orleans. Alcuni brani incisi con le sue formazioni vengono riproposti in un clima che alterna momenti solenni ad altri esuberanti, come se la consorte violinista fosse con loro nell'abbraccio della "Big Happy Family," la sua famiglia estesa.

Il collettivo che ha partecipato all'incisione è di tredici musicisti ma non suonano tutti assieme: il cuore delle incisioni è eseguito da medi organici dov'è costante la presenza del trombettista Terrell Stafford; del cornettista Kirk Knuffke; dei sassofonisti Jeff Lederer, Joel Frahm e Andrew D'Angelo; del pianista Gary Versace; dei bassisti Martin Wind e Paul Sikivie. Qualche altro, come il bassista Chris Lightcap e il pianista Larry Goldings, ha aggiunto le sue parti in fase di post produzione. Come nel jazz tradizionale, i brani sono basati su head arrangements: in alcuni rivive lo spirito delle marching band (come evidenzia l'omaggio a Lester Bowie in "Lester" ) mentre altri spaziano in vari ambiti.

Si va dallo sghembo blues "Getting Friendly" al boppistico "No Outerwear," dal solenne "Holy Hymn" a reminiscenze del free storico, come dimostrano "Go Team Go" e "Andrew's Ditty." Cio che unisce tutti è l'appassionata ed eccentrica inventiva, che accosta tradizione e avanguardia storica passando da climi vibranti ad altri di toccante lirismo. Nel primo caso spicca il concitato "Schoolboy Thung" con Wilson e Andrew D'Angelo in evidenza. Nel secondo il solenne "Flowers for Felicia," affidato alla tromba di Stafford e al clarinetto di Jederer, col significativo contributo di Matt Balitsaris al dobro.

Track Listing: Score; Lester; Searchlight; Beginning of a Memory; Request Potato; How Ya Goin’?; Father of the Year; Getting Friendly; Andrew’s Ditty; Flowers for Felicia (Orchids-Wildwood Flower); No Outerwear; Potato Radio; Go Team Go!/Endless Love; 25 Years of Rootabagas; Feel the Sway; Schoolboy Thug; July Hymn.

Personnel: Terell Stafford: trumpet; Kirk Knuffke: cornet; Jeff Lederer: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Andrew D’Angelo: alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Gary Versace: piano, organ, accordion; Larry Goldings; piano; Martin Wind: acoustic bass; Paul Sikivie: acoustic bass; Yosuke Inoue: acoustic bass; Chris Lightcap: acoustic bass, electric bass; Matt Balitsaris: acoustic guitar, dobro; Matt Wilson: drums.

Title: Beginning of A Memory | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Palmetto Records

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