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Other than leading his Arts & Crafts and Quartet ensembles, drummer Matt Wilson may be among the most recorded jazz session drummers of recent times. With guest pianist John Medeski, the ensemble delves into a set consisting of Wilson originals and a mixed bag of pop and jazz tunes, penned by diverse artists such as Beyonce,' Duke Ellington, Butch Warren, Hugh Lawson and others. Nonetheless, the musicians swing hard and enact a few classic jazz type blowing fests. And they occasionally zoom into the free-zone during some heated improvisational segments. Otherwise, Wilson's arrangements are not constructed on longwinded jam sessions. He keeps matters on the upside via concise and often hard-hitting statements amid a multifarious trajectory, streaming with groove-based opuses and harmonious storylines.
Longtime Thelonious Monk group saxophonist Charlie Rouse's "Pumpkin's Delight," is given a '60s style Blue Note Records type aura, as Wilson executes a bristling Latin jazz pulse in support of the frontline horns section, who in turn, lay behind the beat. This piece resides somewhere between classic Horace Silver and Lee Morgan funk, soul-blues and jazz fare. Cornetist Kirk Knuffke and saxophonist Jeff Lederer, articulate the primary theme then launch into a sonic aerial assault, tempered and re-energized by Medeski's spirited and somewhat animated voicings. Moreover, Wilson stretches out and adds icing to the cake with a poetically designed polyrhythmic solo spot, leading the band to closeout. Essentially, variety is a huge factor on this thoroughly hip and attractive program.
Personnel: Jeff Lederer: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Kirk
Knuffke: cornet; Chris Lightcap: bass; Matt Wilson: drums; John