Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers 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!

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 OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Reaching Out CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018
Read The Songbook Project CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Project
by Don Phipps
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Solo a Genova CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Fountain Of Youth" CD/LP/Track Review Fountain Of Youth
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "Behind The Mist" CD/LP/Track Review Behind The Mist
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 30, 2017
Read "Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat
by Doug Collette
Published: January 6, 2018
Read "Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Long Haul" CD/LP/Track Review Long Haul
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Duality: Particles & Waves" CD/LP/Track Review Duality: Particles & Waves
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 16, 2017