4

Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call

Carlo Wolff By

Sign in to view read count
Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call 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 Assembly 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.

Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Palmetto Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Overseas V CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Behind The Mist CD/LP/Track Review Behind The Mist
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Salão Brazil CD/LP/Track Review Salão Brazil
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Sedimental You CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Overseas V CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Troy Collins
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Tournesol" CD/LP/Track Review Tournesol
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "Green With Envy" CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Joyride" CD/LP/Track Review Joyride
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Columbia Years 1968-1969" CD/LP/Track Review Columbia Years 1968-1969
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: July 4, 2016
Read "Kodama Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Kodama Trio
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 31, 2016
Read "Blooming Tall Phlox" CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!