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Matt Wilson: Smile

Mark Corroto By

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This is a warning to Drummer Matt Wilson: Stop what you’re doing! Jazz is serious business. You don’t think that that Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Crouch spent all those years writing long serious diatribes on the cultural and social implications of jazz, using words like ‘fundamentalist,’ ‘nobility,’ and ‘canon,’ to allow you to actually have so much fun playing this music. There were reports that you donned a wig on your last tour in tribute to heavy metal drummers and that you played with a fake hand that flew off in the midst of a parody solo. Stop! People might find your behavior entertaining, and jazz would become popular again. I can’t bear to think of the implications. Wilson’s past sheds light on why he turned out this way. Born in the Midwest, Wilson went on to Boston to play with two significant and sometimes quirky bands, Russ Gershon’s Either/Orchestra and the Charlie Kohlhase Quintet. This is Matt’s third disc as a leader, his first two received critical acclaim and the 1996 As Wave Follows Wave was on many (including mine) ten best of the year lists. Wilson’s piano-less quartet can play funky and funny as on “Big Butt” or beautifully sweet on “Daymaker.” The band's antics aren’t a ruse to conceal poor musicianship. These cats can play, proof enough on Coltrane’s “Grand Central” taken at a speed no poser could handle or Thelonious’ “Boo Boo’s Birthday” configured as a chamber echo piece. As a drummer, Wilson plays no obvious patterns, opting for shading and coloring effects, he tosses notes instead of time. Sorry Stanley and Wynton, Matt Wilson like Clusone Trio, Jazz Passengers, and Oranj Symphonette are a growing contingent of jazz musicians that cast off the Brooks Brothers suits and attitude for the ‘jassin’ of entertainment like one of your proclaimed heroes, Louis Armstrong.

Track List:Wooden Eye; Boo Boo’s Birthday; A Dusting Of Snow; Big Butt; Grand Central; Strangers In The Night; Making Babies; Daymaker; Go Team Go!; Cinderblock Shelter; I’ve Found A New Baby.


Title: Smile | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Palmetto Records


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