216

Gini Wilson Quartet: The Crossing Point

Ken Hohman By

Sign in to view read count
Gini Wilson Quartet: The Crossing Point The concept of combining elements of classical music with jazz is hardly a new one. George Shearing, Miles Davis, Andre Previn and Bill Evans are just a few of the countless artists to blur the lines between the nightclub the concert hall. With Crossing Point, enormously gifted Bay Area pianist and composer Gini Wilson (a.k.a. The Duchess) puts her own spin on the concept with a musical direction she has labeled "chamberjazz." With the intuitive support of Steve Heckman on saxophones and flute, Paul Breslin and John Wiitala on bass, and Ron Marabuto on drums, Wilson performs an eclectic repertoire of quartet pieces and solo piano tracks that delight no matter which side of the jazz/classical dichotomy you occupy.

Wilson is a highly trained musician who is informed by the best elements of classical music and jazz. Emotion-drenched chord progressions, a percussive right hand and effortlessly floating harmonies are just a few of the tools she employs to convey her deeply personal musical statements. Wilson's precise execution sounds nothing short of regal on Heckman's invigorating "Tango d'Amour Perdu," while her memorable "Mountain Path/Mountain Meadow" swings on a deliciously Monk-ish theme with the help of intelligently crafted passages by Heckman on soprano.

As strong as the up-tempo numbers are, Gini Wilson seems far more at ease with descriptive compositions like Jimmy Rowles' "The Peacocks" and her moving tribute "The Fires Of September (9-11)." These tracks reinforce Wilson's reputation for delicate, deeply emotional playing and they open up wide spaces for her to flex her considerable skills. But in jazz, it doesn't take long for impressionism to turn somnambulant, as her approach begins to veer dangerously into muzak territory on songs like "Luminoso." Similarly, her interpretation of Eric Satie's composition "Satie In The Sahara" would have been more compelling if played with more vigor. Much more enjoyable are Wilson's dazzling displays of technique on the waltzing "Smith's Song," the mystic melodicism of Wayne Shorter's "Aung San Suu Kyi" and the seductive Astor Piazzolla tango "Adios Nonino."

The closing track "J.S. Monk" is at once a playful song and an object lesson of why The Crossing Point falls a bit short of Wilson's musical vision. While most of the record finds Wilson bouncing from classical to jazz, "J.S. Monk" finds her blending jaunty Bach-inspired melodies with Monk-inspired staccato bursts, galvanizing the two styles in the process. It's the closest she comes to "chamberjazz" in the entire recording. Of course, there's no hiding that Wilson's strength rests firmly on the classical side of the equation. But music this tasteful and accomplished cannot be bound by genres. The Crossing Point is a compelling listen for those with open ears.


Track Listing: 1. Mountain Path/Mountain Meadow 2. Tango d'Amour Perdu 3. The Peacocks 4. Satie In The Sahara 5. Aung San Suu Kyi 6. Adios Nonino 7. Gary's Theme 8. Smith's Theme 9. The Fires Of September (9-11) 10. Luminoso 11. J.S. Monk

Personnel: Gini Wilson: piano. Steve Heckman: flute, soprano and tenor saxophone. Paul Breslin: bass. John Wiitala: bass. Ron Marabuto: drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Music Wizards | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Havana Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Havana Blue
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 14, 2016
Read "Guilty Saints" CD/LP/Track Review Guilty Saints
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Handel:  Complete Harpsichord Music" CD/LP/Track Review Handel: Complete Harpsichord Music
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 2, 2016
Read "Of Colors" CD/LP/Track Review Of Colors
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 11, 2016
Read "Concerto para Moviola" CD/LP/Track Review Concerto para Moviola
by Edward Blanco
Published: July 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!

Buy it!