All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

116

Dan Willis: Velvet Gentlemen

Jim Santella By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
Dan Willis: Velvet Gentlemen Taking its title from a pet nickname that was applied to composer Erik Satie by children in his neighborhood, Velvet Gentlemen features multi-instrumentalist Dan Willis with a modern mainstream sextet, freely interpreting eleven original pieces. The band covers a lot of territory. The leader plays eleven woodwind instruments on the session, including tenor and soprano saxophones, as well as oboe, bass clarinet and English horn. He's joined by guitarist Pete McCann, trumpeter Chuck MacKinnon, bassist Kermit Driscoll, pianist Ron Oswanski and drummer John Hollenbeck.

Satie, who's inspired many jazz artists through the decades, lends his spirit to this program, which ranges in scope from straight-ahead jazz to a lyrical form of jazz/rock and beyond to more creative pursuits. The variety in Willis' program proves quite persuasive.

Oswanski uses a Fender Rhodes as well as an accordion to color the session with a unique texture. McCann's fiery electric guitar builds the momentum and pushes the envelope higher and higher. He's all over the place, tearing up the floorboards with excitement and lending an ocean of emotional thrills.

Willis, on the other hand, prefers a more mellow approach, leisurely blending multitracked woodwind instruments into a vocal-like performance. On bass clarinet, his lucid phrases are warm, with a clear communicative appeal. On soprano and tenor, the saxophonist speaks the language of jazz's pioneers while forging a unique voice, painting impressions through ballads and gentle romps. His double-reed instruments allow him to express an exotic flavor and adjust the program's focus transparently.

From leisurely and languid to fired-up and frisky, Velvet Gentlemen shifts seamlessly through its colorful moods. As an ensemble featuring some of New York's finest jazz players, Willis' modern mainstream band pushes the creative envelope on this highly recommended program of original music.


Track Listing: Many Worlds Theory; Nothing is Real; Place of Enlightenment; Door to Yesterday; Velvet Gentlemen; Closed Loops in Time; Im Not the Reverend; Uncertainty Relation; 3:10 Local; Gentle Soul; Grandparent Paradox.

Personnel: Dan Willis: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, oboe, English horn, duduk, sinai, suona, zura, piccolo, bass clarinet, samba whistle; Chuck MacKinnon, trumpet, flugelhorn, EFX; Pete McCann: electric guitar; Kermit Driscoll: electric bass; Stephan Crump: bass, electric bass; Ron Oswanski: Fender Rhodes piano, accordion; John Hollenbeck: drums, percussion.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: OmniTone | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Satie Project II
The Satie Project II
Daywood Drive Records
2014
buy
Dan Willis and Velvet Gentlemen: The Satie Project II
Dan Willis and Velvet...
Daywood Drive Records
2014
buy
The Satie Project
The Satie Project
Daywood Drive Records
2010
buy
Velvet Gentlemen
Velvet Gentlemen
OmniTone
2007
buy
[no cover]
Hand To Mouth
CBS Associated Records
2001
buy
Dan Willis Quartet
Dan Willis Quartet
A-Records
1999
buy
Wayne Shorter Wayne Shorter
saxophone
George Benson George Benson
guitar
Michael Brecker Michael Brecker
sax, tenor
Bill Frisell Bill Frisell
guitar
Jan Garbarek Jan Garbarek
sax, tenor
Tito Puente Tito Puente
band/orchestra
Kate McGarry Kate McGarry
vocalist

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.