MaxJazz, once touted as a "boutique label," now can boast being a full fledged jazz label with a vision. Beginning with the Vocal Series, then the Piano Series, and now the Horn Series, the label continues to pave new inroads into jazz performance and marketing. Inaugurating the new Horn Series is multi-instrumentalist Steve Wilson. But after listening to this disc, one would think the series should be called "Horn Vocals" (preempting the upcoming "Piano Vocals" series initiated by Patti Wicks). Nevertheless, Mr. Wilson assembles a superb set of songs, singers and players for his debut as a leader on the label.
A good measure of the talent that joins Wilson comes from the Max Jazz roster themselves. "You’re Everything" has Rene Maria singing (also on Abby Lincoln’s "Caged Bird") and Phillip Manuel shows back up on "Wish You Were Here." Never far from the source, Carla Cook sings on "Carla’s Gospel" (a gospel tour de force highlighting Wilson’s soulful flute playing as much as Cook’s vocalizations), written for the singer by Wilson. "Reasons" moves from the vocal venue to the contemporary jazz arena with Bruce Barth on Fender Rhodes." "Wilsonian Alto" is a funky acoustic break with a quartet that is very sleek and cool. This is a very well produced ensemble recording that does not suffer in any way from the trend toward disjointment like many of these recordings do. Highly recommended.
Personnel: Steve Wilson: alto, soprano saxophones, flute; Bruce Barth: piano; Ed Howard: bass; James Genus; bass; Adam Cruz: drums; Billy Kilson: drums; Carla Cook: vocals; Phillip Manuel: vocals; Rene Marie: vocals; Paul Bollenback: guitar; Wilson Corniel: percussion.
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good
I was first exposed to jazz when I discovered that one of Jimi Hendrix's influences was Wes Montgomery. I played guitar growing up and idolized Hendrix, so I knew that anyone he looked up to must be good. I was 16 at the time. I went to Tower Records and purchased a CD by Wes, and I was hooked from the very first ten seconds. The sound of the song Lolita illuminated my bedroom, as I just sat back amazed at how colorful and soulful this music was--I understood it, even though at the time I didn't understand how to go about playing it. I get chills listening to Wes' solo on Lolita, and I can still listen to that song ten times in a row and never get tired of it. There is a truly timeless quality to genuinely spontaneous jazz music, and it is that quality that has inspired me to devote my life to studying and playing this music.