129

Steve Wilson: Generations

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Alto saxophonist Steve Wilson’s modern mainstream quartet spans generations with respect to career accomplishments, but the music is timeless. Sixty-five year old drummer Ben Riley came up in the 1950s and ‘60s with Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. Fifty-one year old bassist Ray Drummond came up in the 1970s and ‘80s with Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson. Forty-three year old pianist Mulgrew Miller came up in the 1980s with Art Blakey, while thirty-seven year old saxophonist Steve Wilson came up in the 1990s with Renee Rosnes, Louie Bellson, the Mingus Big Band, and others. On his 5th album as a leader Wilson shows a lovely tone and manner on alto; he also plays soprano sax on three tracks and flute on "Wait." After attending Virginia Commonwealth University on an oboe scholarship, the saxophonist worked with Blue Note’s OTB (Out Of The Blue sextet) and studied with several of jazz’s legendary masters before expanding his busy career.

Wilson’s "Trapaceria" is a modern mainstream piece with fiery Latin rhythms and carnaval melodies. Doubling of the piano and alto saxophone voices in places increases the drama, to contrast with the composition’s playful attitude. Wilson’s "A Joyful Noise" is a pleasant waltz that features his soprano sax winding its way through the melody with a stamina that recalls John Coltrane’s "My Favorite Things." Miller’s "Small Portion" is a lively up-tempo romp that features each of the quartet’s members in expressive solo encounters. The pianist’s solo portion is especially refreshing. Miller’s blues-tinged keyboard work contains crisp energetic phrasing over a powerful rhythmic left-hand foundation. Drummond’s "Leanin’ & Preenin’ " is a dramatic piece with a loose, swinging feel to it. While remaining heavy at the bottom, the number struts a cocky rhythm over which Wilson and Miller swing in turn. Billy Strayhorn’s "Chelsea Bridge" moves along, bolero-like, to a fascinating drum and pizzicato bass pattern that supports its familiar soaring alto saxophone melody. The classic "Sweet and Lovely" is performed light and bouncy, but with a melodic twist; it’s the session’s highlight. As with all good music, Wilson’s album bridges the generation gap and offers arrangements of substance that will last for an eternity.


Track Listing: Small Portion; A Joyful Noise (for JW); Sisko; Leanin' & Preenin'; Chrysalis; Sweet and Lovely; Wait; Trapacer

Personnel: Steve Wilson: alto and soprano saxophones, flute; Mulgrew Miller: piano; Ray Drummond: bass; Ben Riley: drums.

Title: Generations | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Elusive CD/LP/Track Review Elusive
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Transitions CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Door Girl CD/LP/Track Review Door Girl
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Incidentals CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read "Strunkin'" CD/LP/Track Review Strunkin'
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 18, 2016
Read "The Colours Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "With You In Mind" CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Rejoice! I'm Dead!" CD/LP/Track Review Rejoice! I'm Dead!
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Swivel" CD/LP/Track Review Swivel
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "Live at Nectar’s" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Nectar’s
by Joe Gatto
Published: May 14, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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