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Anthony Wilson Nonet: Power Of Nine

Alain Londes By

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Anthony Wilson's young talent has earned him opportunities to play with a number of other jazz artists within different configurations. The guitarist son of legendary composer/arranger/bandleader Gerald Wilson has already played with the likes of Bennie Wallace, Larry Goldings, Joe Henry, Harold Land, Chris Botti and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. He joined Diana Krall on her Grammy-winning Live In Paris (Verve Records, 2002), and they have remained friends since. Wilson has been a member of the Jazz Studies faculty at UCLA since 1998. Power Of Nine is a personal representation of his current work, as well as his other tendencies. The snappy "Make It Good, by Duke Pearson, for example, exemplifies his love of swing.

One highlight is the ballad "Looking Back, with the nostalgic lyrics sung by Diana Krall, sounding hauntingly reminiscent of the whispery voice of Shirley Horn. This is a song that Jimmy Rowles, Krall's longtime teacher, introduced to her years ago. Pianist Donald Vega demonstrates a very lyrical and fluid style on this track.

Embedded within the recording is a collection of "Quadras, which in Portuguese can mean city blocks as well as verses/quatrains. The four quadras embody Wilson's love of Brazilian music and contain repeated musical ideas enhanced through improvisation and metric/rhythmic/key modulations. Written in anticipation of a New Year holiday in Brazil, Quadras 3 and 4 provide distinct Brazilian rhythms and easygoing elements, accompanied by Eva Scow's mandolin.

Two pieces, "I And Thou and "Melatonin Dream, were part of Tokyo Wednesday, a commissioned concert-length piece from the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in conjunction with the NEA in 2002. "Melatonin Dream has a distinct and quiet dream quality that its name suggests, with Gilbert Castellanos showcasing Miles Davis long-note qualities. He is joined in a discreet buildup by the rest of the band, before the piece drops down again to Darek "Oles Oleszkiewicz's bass playing.

The quiet "Hymn is a slow tune that includes gospel voicings, especially at the beginning. Those who are familiar with Gerald Wilson's work will definitely hear his influence on the energy and style of Power Of Nine, especially this fast piece, which showcases the whole band. Father and son have in fact performed together live as recently as this summer. The final piece, the swinging "Bird in a Basket, is actually a hidden track in homage to Charlie Parker's return to LA's Central Avenue.


Track Listing: Make It Real; I And Thou (from Tokyo Wednesday); Looking Back; Quadra 1(Ano Novo); Quadra 2 (Vila Madalena); Quadra 3 (Coisinha); Quadra 4 (Javali Witness); Amalgamation; Melatonin Dream (from Tokyo Wednesday); Hymn; Power of Nine.

Personnel: Anthony Wilson: guitar; Diana Krall: vocals (3); Eva Scow: mandolin (7); Adam Schroeder: baritone saxophone; Alan Ferber: trombone; Mark Ferber: drums; Matt Otto: tenor saxophone; Matt Zebley: alto and soprano saxophone; Gilbert Castellanos: trumpet; Donald Vega: piano; Derek "Oles" Oleszkiewicz: bass.

Title: Power Of Nine | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Groove Note Records

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