All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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.

Title: What Would It Be Without You | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Knit Classics

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
 

Feelin' Good!

Kedar Entertainment Group
2001

buy
 

What Would It Be...

Knit Classics
2000

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

Related Articles

Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read (Willisau) 1991 Studio CD/LP/Track Review
(Willisau) 1991 Studio
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Tradition CD/LP/Track Review
Tradition
by Chris May
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Life Anthem CD/LP/Track Review
Life Anthem
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Closer To Home CD/LP/Track Review
Closer To Home
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 20, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Directions" CD/LP/Track Review Directions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 15, 2017
Read "Town And Country" CD/LP/Track Review Town And Country
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 21, 2017
Read "Deuce" CD/LP/Track Review Deuce
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 2, 2018
Read "Road Songs For Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Road Songs For Lovers
by Doug Collette
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 5, 2018
Read "In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording" CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 11, 2018