On Stretching Supreme, his seventh album as leader of his own ensembles, saxophonist Dave Wilson pays homage to a musical hero the legendary John Coltraneperforming a trio of Coltrane's classic themes from his late-career "transitional" period, "A Love Supreme," "Dear Lord" and "Naima," recorded in October 2017 at Chris' Jazz Café in Philadelphia; "A Love Supreme" is divided into three parts, a lengthy "Introduction," "Acknowledgement" and "Resolution." They are complemented by Wilson's original composition, "On the Prairie," and the Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer standard, "Days of Wine and Roses," recorded at Chris' Café in March 2018.
Before continuing, it should be noted that, while many people love and cherish Coltrane's late-season handiwork, evidently for good reason, some other listeners are, shall we say, rather less impressed or enamored. Without passing judgment, suffice to say that the music presented herein is, by and large, meditative and devoid of any well-compassed emotional center, with the possible exceptions of "Days of Wine and Roses," which moves gently forward in a more traditional manner, or the tender ballad, "Naima," which has its effective moments. On the other hand, Wilson and his teammates are clearly invested in the enterprise, musically and emotionally, and that should count for something.
Another point to consider is that the music may simply lie beyond the layman's grasp; it may be sending more signals than some listeners are able to receive. Beauty in music, as in other aspects of life, most often lies in the eye (or ear) of the beholder. As Wilson and his sidemen (pianist Kirk Reese, bassist Tony Marino, drummers Alex Ritz or Dan Monaghan) are accomplished musicians, they are more than likely "hearing" elegance where others may be sensing chaos. Clearly, there is enticing jazz to be uncorked here by perceptive and open-minded listeners, and handsome solos, especially by Wilson (who plays tenor saxophone most of the way, soprano saxophone on "On the Prairie") and Reese. It simply may not conform to everyone's taste.
A Love Supreme: Intro to Part 1, Acknowledgement; Part 1, Acknowledgement; Part 2,
Resolution; On the Prairie; Days of Wine and Roses; Dear Lord; Naima.
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