463

Gerald Wilson Orchestra: Detroit

By

Sign in to view read count
Gerald Wilson Orchestra: Detroit Commissioned by the Detroit International Jazz Festival and premiered on the occasion of the composer's 91st birthday, Gerald Wilson's six-movement "Detroit Suite" demonstrates that after nearly seven decades in the music business, the nonagenarian composer and arranger still has a great deal to offer in terms of musical creativity. Wilson spent the latter part of his teen years in the Motor City, where he studied trumpet, piano, percussion, and composition at Cass Technical High School from 1934-39, and he still regards Detroit as a "hometown."

The opening "Blues on Belle Isle," which is named for a park on a island in the Detroit River, features the alto sax of Randall Willis, trumpeter Sean Jones, violinist Yvette Devereaux (following in the footsteps of the young Jean-Luc Ponty, who occupied this chair in the Wilson ensemble four decades ago), and guitarist and Gerald's son Anthony Wilson, who has been a mainstay of the Diana Krall quartet for the past several years. "Cass Tech," Wilson's paean to his alma mater, is a variation on Benny Golson's "Along Came Betty" in much the same fashion as Bill Holman's take on "Stompin' at the Savoy" for Stan Kenton over a half-century ago. The ballad "Detroit" spotlights Willis on flute, Jones on fluegelhorn, and the tenor sax of Kamasi Washington (Jones and Washington appear on both the Los Angeles and New York sessions).

Based on the chord changes of Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge," "Miss Gretchen" salutes Mack Avenue founder and president Gretchen Valade with solos from pianist Brian O'Rourke and the Harmon-muted trumpet of Winston Byrd, plus Devereaux (adapting the classic Ben Webster solo from the release to her violin) and Anthony Wilson. Latin rhythms a la Wilson's "Carlos" and "Viva Tirado" predominate in "Before Motown" (which bears absolutely no connection with the musical genre of that name), with Bobby Rodriguez's trumpet, Les Benedict's trombone, and the tenors of Washington and Louis Van Taylor all capturing attention. "The Detroit River," on the other hand, resembles Count Basie on steroids, as trumpeter/contractor Ron Barrows, veteran soprano saxophonist Jackie Kelso, trombonist Eric Jorgensen, Devereaux, Van Taylor, O'Rourke, and Anthony Wilson all contribute to this hyper-charged swinger.

The two remaining tracks, "Everywhere" (a remake of the title cut from a 1968 Pacific Jazz LP by Wilson) and "Aram," are from the same sessions as Wilson's 2005 New York, New Sound (his Mack Avenue debut) and feature the New York ensemble. Flute legend Hubert Laws highlights the modal "Everywhere," while "Aram" (possibly named for the Soviet-era Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian) offers frequent rhythmic shifts between jazz-waltz and straight-ahead 4/4 tempi supporting powerful solos by trumpeter Terell Stafford (Director of Jazz Studies of the Boyer College of Music at Philadelphia's Temple University, and a member of NYC's celebrated Vanguard Jazz Orchestra) and altoist Antonio Hart.


Track Listing: Blues on Belle Isle; Cass Tech; Detroit; Miss Gretchen; Before Motown; The Detroit River; Everywhere; Aram.

Personnel: Gerald Wilson, conductor, composer, arranger; Los Angeles: Ron Barrows: trumpet, contractor; Bobby Rodriguez: trumpet; Sean Jones: trumpet; Jeff Kaye: trumpet; Rick Baptist: trumpet; Winston Byrd: trumpet; Eric Jorgensen: trombone; Les Benedict: trombone; Mike Wimberly: trombone; Shaunte Palmer: trombone; Jackie Kelso: alto, soprano saxes; Randall Willis: alto sax, flute; Carl Randall: tenor sax; Kamasi Washington: tenor sax; Louis Van Taylor: tenor, baritone saxes; Terry Landry: baritone sax; Yvette Devereaux: violin; Brian O'Rourke: piano; Anthony Wilson: guitar; Trey Henry: bass; Mel Lee: drums; New York: Jon Faddis: trumpet, fluegelhorn, contractor; Frank Greene: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Jimmy Owens: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Sean Jones: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Terell Stafford: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Dennis Wilson: trombone; Luis Bonilla: trombone; Jay Ashby: trombone; Douglas Purviance: bass trombone; Hubert Laws: flute; Steve Wilson: alto and soprano saxes, flute; Antonio Hart: alto and soprano saxes, flute; Ron Blake: tenor sax; Kamasi Washington: tenor sax; Ronnie Cuber: baritone sax; Renee Rosnes: piano; Anthony Wilson: guitar; Peter Washington: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records | Style: Big Band


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Münster Bern" CD/LP/Track Review Münster Bern
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 28, 2016
Read "Gin Fizz Fandango" CD/LP/Track Review Gin Fizz Fandango
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 20, 2016
Read "My Blue Soul" CD/LP/Track Review My Blue Soul
by James Nadal
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A." CD/LP/Track Review The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A.
by Paul Naser
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Dobbeltgaenger" CD/LP/Track Review Dobbeltgaenger
by John Sharpe
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Out & About" CD/LP/Track Review Out & About
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

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!

Buy it!