368

Steve Wilson Quartet

C. Andrew Hovan By

Sign in to view read count
Jilly’s
Dayton, Ohio
March 22, 2003

While it’s often assumed that only the big cities can entice touring jazz names to their concert venues, the fact remains that there are pockets of activity in unlikely places throughout the country that would surprise even the most avid of jazz followers. Such is the case with each year’s series of jazz concerts presented by the Dayton arts support organization Cityfolk at the venerable downtown watering hole known as Gilly’s. When it comes to some of the best places to hear jazz in the United States, this club ranks up there with the best of them thanks to great sight lines and a sound mix that is never too overpowering but exact enough to render each instrument clearly. Simply put, there’s not a bad seat in the house.

As a culmination of his year long position as Cityfolk’s Jazz Artist-in-Residence, saxophonist and composer Steve Wilson brought his own quartet to Gilly’s for two inspired sets. A brief opener was provided by a student ensemble from the Stivers School of the Arts, where Wilson spent much of his residency working with director Claude Thomas and the students themselves. Then Wilson’s quartet took the stage, with pianist Bruce Barth, bassist Ed Howard, and drummer Jonathan Blake rounding out the group. Gershwin’s “S’Wonderful” served as fodder for Wilson’s fluid alto, his voice only getting stronger and more individualistic over the years to the point that his influences have been assimilated into a style all his own.

The Keith Jarrett opus “Days and Nights Waiting” served as a perfect example of the kind of telepathy that this group shares. Going in and out of tempo in an extremely unified manner, Wilson’s soprano soared over the carpet laid down by Howard and Blake. The bebop warhorse “Woody ‘n’ You” also proved challenging in a new guise, shifting from Latin to bop and getting underway with a free duet between alto and drums. From his upcoming MaxJazz release, Wilson demonstrated his wares as an arranger of pop ditties in the guise of Stevie Wonder’s “Easy Goin’ Evening,” making it a true crowd pleaser in the process.

While not quite as long, the second set commenced with a newly commissioned work that Wilson had yet to title as of that evening. He picked up the clarinet to start things off, sounding very Giuffre-ish in the establishment of the work’s first section. Then, a rumba beat found Barth soloing with a creative flair that was something to marvel. In fact, over the course of the entire evening it was the pianist who impressed the most, with a jubilant style that mixed modal elements of Tyner with the bluesy eloquence of Wynton Kelly. David Hazeltine’s arrangement of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Reasons” got the crowd going just prior to Barth’s boppish “The Lexter” which concluded things on a highly incendiary note.


Shop

More Articles

Read Anat Cohen at Davidson College Live Reviews Anat Cohen at Davidson College
by Perry Tannenbaum
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House Live Reviews Mark Hagan's Jazz Salon At The Old 76 House
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's Live Reviews Kneebody at Johnny Brenda's
by Mike Jacobs
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Vossajazz 2017 Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ Live Reviews Hermeto Pascoal at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: April 21, 2017
Read Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights Live Reviews Lewis Nash and Steve Wilson at JazzNights
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "The Hot Sardines at Central Park Summerstage" Live Reviews The Hot Sardines at Central Park Summerstage
by Ernest Barteldes
Published: July 1, 2016
Read "Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017" Live Reviews Bergamo Jazz Festival 2017
by Francesco Martinelli
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Bobby Hutcherson tribute at SFJAZZ Center" Live Reviews Bobby Hutcherson tribute at SFJAZZ Center
by David Becker
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "John Daversa Big Band at The Baked Potato" Live Reviews John Daversa Big Band at The Baked Potato
by Paul Naser
Published: June 3, 2016
Read "Peter Murphy at (le) Poisson Rouge" Live Reviews Peter Murphy at (le) Poisson Rouge
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: May 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!