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YEAR IN REVIEW

Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2017

Read "Mark Sullivan's Best Releases of 2017" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

No genre breakdown this year. I've included every release that I rated at 4.5 stars or better, plus a number of 4 star reviews (that was the hard part, as there were lots of those). ECM had an exceptionally strong year, and I had trouble limiting my selection even this much. This is a chronological list, not a ranking. Club D'Elf Live at Club Helsinki Face Pelt Records Wingfield Reuter Stavi ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Matt Wilson: Honey And Salt

Read "Honey And Salt" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Drummer/composer Matt Wilson has a long-standing interest in Carl Sandburg's poetry: his debut as a leader, Wave Follows Wave (Palmetto, 1996), was named for a Sandburg poem; Humidity (Palmetto, 2003) included a Sandburg setting of “Wall Shadows"; and An Attitude for Gratitude (Palmetto, 2012) featured the Sandburg-inspired “Bubbles." But this project (begun in 2002 with the help of a Chamber Music America New Works grant) is entirely inspired by the poetry, and coincides with the 50th anniversary of Sandburg's death ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Matt Wilson: Honey And Salt

Read "Honey And Salt" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Drummer Matt Wilson has some personal connections to the great Midwestern poet Carl Sandburg in that they were both born in Knox County, Illinois and they are distantly related by marriage. Wilson has long been fascinated by Sandburg's writing and has done musical settings of his work for a long time but with Honey And Salt he finally devotes an entire CD to his poetry. He does this with the help of several musicians known for their own ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Matt Wilson: Honey And Salt

Read "Honey And Salt" reviewed by Mark Corroto

We will forgive you if you believed drummer Matt Wilson's previous recording Beginning Of A Memory (Palmetto, 2016) was a summing-up of his career to date. On that recording he invited just about every musician he has worked with as a leader. The conspicuous absence was, of course, Dewey Redman, who had passed on in 2006. Nonetheless, his latest project,Honey And Salt, music inspired by the poetry of Carl Sandburg, is an album he has been making since he strode ...

YEAR IN REVIEW

Mark Corroto's Best Releases of 2016

Read "Mark Corroto's Best Releases of 2016" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Nothing gives me such simultaneous joy and grief as selecting my top discs of the year. The task is akin to choosing your favorite child. Regretfully, I give you (in no particular order) my top 12. Please email mail me separately if you want my top 30 and include your top discs, I may want to spend my Christmas money on a few more titles. Matt Wilson Beginning Of A Memory (Palmetto) ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family: Beginning of A Memory

Read "Beginning of A Memory" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

For this mostly retrospective session drummer/composer Matt Wilson convened all of the members--past and present--of his longest established groups: the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts, and Christmas Tree-O. So it's not only a larger ensemble than usual, but also a melding of the different stylistic focuses represented by those projects. There are 13 players altogether, and although they don't all play on everything, most of them play on most of the tracks. The core group included all five horn ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Matt Wilson’s Big Happy Family: Beginning of A Memory

Read "Beginning of A Memory" reviewed by Mark Corroto

It's easy to imagine the phone calls, drummer Matt Wilson made, using his best imitation of Elwood from the 1980 Blues Brothers movie, “We're putting the band back together, we're on a mission from God." And like that, current members and alumni of the drummer's bands: the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts, and Christmas Tree-O assembled to commune and revisit the music Wilson's late wife Felicia loved.This recording was Wilson's first since he lost his wife to ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call

Read "Gathering Call" reviewed by Carlo Wolff

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Matt Wilson Quartet: Gathering Call

Read "Gathering Call" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call

Read "Gathering Call" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Drummer Matt Wilson may define the ideal of unabashed enthusiasm better than anyone else in jazz. His cymbals and drums even seem to be smiling when he sets sticks to them, so it should come as no shock that musical zeal is a key factor in the success of Gathering Call. For his eleventh album as a leader, this musical ray of positive energy called on his quartet and added an important guest to the mix; he reunited with his ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call

Read "Gathering Call" reviewed by Mark Corroto

When he is not occupying the drum chair of one of dozens of bands that he is called upon to inject with his contagious effervescence, drummer Matt Wilson can be found leading his two bands, Arts & Crafts and the Matt Wilson Quartet. Both quartets feature stellar bassists, Arts & Crafts--Martin Wind and here, Chris Lightcap. Where the former employs the talents of pianist/organist Gary Versace, the Quartet sails without keys. That is, until Wilson invites John Medeski as a ...

INTERVIEWS

Matt Wilson: Have Drums, Will Travel

Read "Matt Wilson: Have Drums, Will Travel" reviewed by Lawrence Peryer

Drummer Matt Wilson must surely be in the running for the title of hardest-working man in jazz. Wilson is a composer, bandleader, producer and teacher. As a leader, his projects include the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts, Christmas Tree-O and the Carl Sandburg Project. He has been in bands with luminaries such as Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Charlie Haden, Lee Konitz, Ted Nash and many, many others. As for legends, he's played with Herbie Hancock, Dewey Redman, Andrew Hill, ...


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