165

Joe Lee Wilson & Bond Street: What Would It Be Without You

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Here’s an artifact rescued from the mists of time and largely unknown to or forgotten by even the most learned of ‘New Thing’ aficionados. A look at the lineup reveals some familiar and enticing names including Rashied Ali and Ronnie Boykins, but who the hell is Joe Lee Wilson? The concise notes that accompany the disc reveal him as an advocate for creative expression in New York City who often worked in tandem with Rashied Ali to foster and sustain a musical community there during the 70s. Originally issued on Ali’s self-owned and operated Survival label, it’s no surprise given it’s grass roots distribution that it quickly disappeared from sight.

Wilson’s approach to song is more akin to that of his Soul music brethren than to the polished deliveries favored by most jazz vocalists. He belts out roughly improvised lyrics with the same passion he affords a tune’s precomposed words. Witness his impromptu song sheet for Coltrane’s “Blue Train” for a sample of what I’m talking about. A typical chorus set to the melody reads “You’re diggin’ Coltrane, you’re diggin’ Blue Train, you’re diggin’ Soul Trane, his sheets of sound, they are still around, you’re diggin’ Coltrane,” not a particularly imaginative string of phrases, but delivered with Wilson’s obvious gusto and verve they somehow work.

Another component in Wilson’s success is the stellar band of musicians he convened for the disc. The tracks are long enough to also afford the players room to improvise and Boykins and Waters in particular take advantage of the space. Boykin’s bowed solo on the earlier mentioned reading of “Blue Train” is saturated in his signature high-pitched harmonics. “Crucificado” adopts a loping Bossa beat buoyed by Kawasaki’s sharp chordal fills and Ali’s mean conga breaks. Wilson digs in and soulfully shouts out the esoteric sentiments of song. On “The Lady” his delivery is far more reserved and the band shifts smoothly into languid ballad mode that carries over into the concluding “Nice and Easy.” These last two numbers go along way toward demonstrating that Wilson can do more than simply bark his way through a tune. Listeners looking at the personnel of this disc and expecting some fervently played free jazz will find themselves disappointed. But those who welcome the opportunity to hear these legends in a decidedly different setting will find Wilson’s disc much to their liking.


Track Listing: What Would It Be Without You/ Blue Train/ Crucificado/ Parting/ The Lady/ Nice and Easy- Such a Lovely Lady.

Recorded: August 31, 1975, 77 Greene Street, NYC.

Personnel: Joe Lee Wilson- vocals; Monty Waters- alto & tenor saxophones; Ryo Kawasaki- guitar; Ronnie Boykins- bass; George Avaloz- drums; Rashied Ali- congas.

| Record Label: Knit Classics | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Feelin' Good!
Kedar Entertainment Group
2001
buy
Without A Song
Kedar Entertainment Group
1978
buy
Secrets From The Sun
Kedar Entertainment Group
1977
buy
What Would It Be...
Kedar Entertainment Group
1975
buy
Livin' High Off...
Kedar Entertainment Group
1974
buy
He Ain't Heavy ......
Kedar Entertainment Group
0
buy
Lester Young Lester Young
saxophone
Gene Harris Gene Harris
piano
Bobby Hutcherson Bobby Hutcherson
vibraphone
Lou Donaldson Lou Donaldson
saxophone
Archie Shepp Archie Shepp
saxophone
Gato Barbieri Gato Barbieri
saxophone
Charles Earland Charles Earland
organ, Hammond B3
Pharoah Sanders Pharoah Sanders
saxophone
Frank Foster Frank Foster
saxophone
Illinois Jacquet Illinois Jacquet
sax, tenor

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Mass" CD/LP/Track Review Mass
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Take Me To The Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Take Me To The Alley
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "A Missing Shade of Blue" CD/LP/Track Review A Missing Shade of Blue
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 22, 2016
Read "Under the Influence" CD/LP/Track Review Under the Influence
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Beginning of A Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Beginning of A Memory
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "Mirror, Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Mirror, Mirror
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 3, 2017

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!

Buy it!