4

Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call

Carlo Wolff By

Sign in to view read count
Drummer Matt Wilson is certainly mercurial. Not only can he be found playing in all manner and format, working with everyone from Myra Melford to John Zorn to Elvis Costello, he regularly leads two quartets: Arts & Crafts, and this one, featuring roiling windman Jeff Lederer, cornetist Kirk Knuffke} and bassist Chris Lightcap. Augmented here by ubiquitous Boston-based pianist John Medeski, the MWQ turns in a diverse brace of tunes, held together by sequencing and two throat-clearers, the title track and the aptly titled "Dreamscape."

Recorded in one day, "Gathering Call" sounds spontaneous; the craft undoubtedly went into the planning—and the sequencing, which keeps the listener far more than interested. Wilson, of course, plays everything from blues shuffle (on Hugh Lawson's "Get Over, Get Off and Get On," perhaps the best tune Bobby Timmons never wrote) to template avant- garde (Wilson's own "How Ya Going" channels Ornette Coleman and his drummer, Billy Higgins) to nervy modern (Wilson's own, witty "Some Assembly Required").

The players are marvelous: Lederer burns, a phoenix flexing his wings, on "Assembly," hotly funkifying "Get Off" as Medeski mines the blues; Lightcap lends gravity to Wilson's thoughtful ballad, "Hope (for the Cause)"; Knuffke gives Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy" a poignant, gospel-like dignity; and Medeski fits into every tune. He's not out to make a point of his versatility here. He's out to play: with restraint, on the Beyonce; with curlicue zest, on Duke Ellington's "Main Stem"; pearly and pointed, on the complex and tricky "How Ya Going?"

You imagine these guys gathering at Palmetto owner Matt Balitsaris' Maggie's Farm studio in rural Pennsylvania, hashing out song titles and plunging in. Even though the repertoire here spans the Beyonce tune, Ellington and "Pumpkin's Delight," a great bop romp by Charlie Rouse, Thelonious Monk's last, and long-tenured, saxman, everything fits together. And no matter how jagged the music becomes, it remains accessible.

"Gathering Call," as its title suggests, represents a meeting of the minds. Intelligently sequenced, witty and rhythmic and catchy, it conjures a time when jazz was the popular music. The Wilson quartet's hookup with crossover artist Medeski is anything but contrived. It's a blend that makes for what is likely the best jazz album—at least of the first month— of 2014.

Track Listing: Main Stem; Some Assemble Required; Dancing Waters; Get Over, Get Off And Get On; Barack Obama; Gathering Call; You Dirty Dog; Hope (For The Cause); Dreamscape; How Ya Going?; If I Were A Boy; Pumpkin’s Delight; Juanita.

Personnel: Jeff Lederer: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Kirk Knuffke: cornet; Chris Lightcap: bass; Matt Wilson: drums; John Medeski: piano.

Title: Gathering Call | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Palmetto Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Enter the PlusTet" CD/LP/Track Review Enter the PlusTet
by Troy Collins
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four" CD/LP/Track Review B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "All Things" CD/LP/Track Review All Things
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "A Night Walking Through Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Infra" CD/LP/Track Review Infra
by John Eyles
Published: October 7, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.