Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

16

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

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
For this mostly retrospective session drummer/composer Matt Wilson convened all of the members—past and present—of his longest established groups: the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts, and Christmas Tree-O. So it's not only a larger ensemble than usual, but also a melding of the different stylistic focuses represented by those projects. There are 13 players altogether, and although they don't all play on everything, most of them play on most of the tracks. The core group included all five horn players, plus Wilson and bassists Martin Wind and Paul Sikivie. These players recorded the basic tracks without written arrangements, a remarkable act of trust and spontaneity. As this album was recorded to celebrate the life of the drummer's late wife Felicia Wilson, it's also a spirit appropriate to the occasion.

Wilson's recordings as a leader are characterized by an adventurous, eclectic spirit, as well as musical humor (a rare commodity in jazz these days). The repertoire he chose for this album reflects the whole range. The title tune was originally recorded by the Matt Wilson Quartet on Humidity (Palmetto Records, 2003), with Felicia making a guest appearance on violin. Its stately theme is only enhanced by the additional horns. "Flowers for Felicia" benefits from Gary Versace's delicate piano accompaniment and co-producer Matt Balitsaris' beautiful acoustic guitar and dobro. Versace (the keyboardist in Arts & Crafts) had to overdub his parts, but you would never know it from the sound. Space was left in "25 Years of Rootabagas" for him to take an accordion solo, which obviously required some planning.

"Go Team Go!/Endless Love" is a splendid example of Wilson's sense of humor, and has the distinction of including all four bassists involved in the project. In some ways the horn free-for-all is less raucous than the original quartet version on Smile (Palmetto Records, 1999)—instead of blasting away simultaneously, the horns have fun tossing the fanfare figures around. Bassist Yosuke Inoue makes his only appearance, contributing a version of Lionel Richie's "Endless Love." Pianist Larry Goldings also contributed a solo track, his arrangement of "How Ya Goin'?" from Gathering Call (Palmetto Records, 2014). Perhaps the most striking new arrangement is saved for last. "July Hymn" was a feature for saxophonist Dewey Redman on As Wave Follows Wave (Palmetto Records, 1996), but closes out the album re-imagined as a horn chorale. It's a lovely ending to an album full of joy, beauty and fun.

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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Somewhere Glimmer CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere Glimmer
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 15, 2017
Read Lattice CD/LP/Track Review Lattice
by John Sharpe
Published: December 14, 2017
Read I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert CD/LP/Track Review I Think I’m Going To Eat Dessert
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Cub(an)ism" CD/LP/Track Review Cub(an)ism
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Due North" CD/LP/Track Review Due North
by Doug Collette
Published: October 29, 2017
Read "Submerged" CD/LP/Track Review Submerged
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 9, 2017
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Road Songs For Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Road Songs For Lovers
by Doug Collette
Published: September 30, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!