Home Music Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call

Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski: Gathering Call

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Matt Wilson Quartet

Matt Wilson Quartet - Gathering CallNot everyone plays drums like Matt Wilson. Coming from a long line that owes much to “Papa Jo” Jones and Elvin Jones, Mr. Wilson is as much a cerebral musician as he is a very physical player. His shoulders heave as if they were drawing principally engaged in drawing in air for his lungs; his arms, on the other hand, work with minimal motion and yet they can be involved in the most complicated polyrhythms, played with primordial and visceral energy. His occasional grimaces are mixed in with gnarly smiles and whoops as he seems lost in what he is doing. However he suddenly snaps out of what seems to be a hypnotic state centred only on his polyrhythms and then he grunts and growls as he sings off key and urges his soloists to push the envelope harder. His soli are the epitome of craftsmanship. Here he seems to be sitting astride a potters’ wheel swaying and heaving as he shapes the soli as if from lumps of clay defined with a thump of his bass drum. Then his body sways delightfully and a startling form emerges, shaped by hands that curve and slash at cymbals, and wallop and thunder as the solo progresses.

Therefore it should come as no surprise that he should assemble a quartet in like manner; and throw down a gauntlet to each musician to play music that is emotionally charged and melodically and harmonically transcendent, as well as rhythmically complex. The album Gathering Call is replete with standards by Duke Ellington and originals by Mr. Wilson along with several honorable mentions, such as Butch Warren. Played in the inner sanctum of the recording studio, they may as well have been played live. There is a wonderful quality of reaching outwards with the music, as if the quartet were playing for a live audience. The bounce and verve of the music is pitched as if to an invisible audience, which seems to respond in kind. There is a suggestion that the musicians have freed themselves from the stress of playing challenging music and are enjoying doing what they do. Soli by the wondrously bombastic Kirk Knuffke on cornet are absorbing and seem to suit the compositions by Mr. Ellington, such as “Main Stem” and “You Dirty Dog” as much as they do Mr. Wilson’s more contemporary ones. Saxophonist, Jeff Lederer is just as endearing, honking and howling with unabashed glory on “Dancing Waters” and “Get Over, Get Off And Get On.” And bassist Chris Lightcap plays with melodicism and majesty throughout.

Pianist John Medeski lights up the album song after song. His energy is palpable and it is largely Mr. Medeski that drives the music forward and upward. Following Mr. Lightcap into Butch Warren’s chart, “Barak Obama” Mr. Medeski crafts a superb solo full of ethereal twists and turns as the music seeks to paint a portrait of one of the most fascinating personalities of the 21st Century. John Medeski also shares a rather special relationship with Matt Wilson. It might seem that the drummer has a penchant for pianists, but this is not the case, although Mr. Medeski and Mr. Wilson get along just fine on Duke Ellington’s “You Dirty Dog.” The pianist also lights up “Hope (For The Cause),” “Dreamscape” and the standard, “Juanita” as if he were caressing his keys as he animated each one of them. For these and other reasons mentioned above this recording is likely to endure for some length of time to come.

Track List: Main Stem; Some Assembly Required; Dancing Waters; Get Over, Get Off And Get On; Barack Obama; Gathering Call; You Dirty Dog; Hope (For The Cause); Dreamscape; How Ya Going?; If I Were A Boy; Pumpkin’s Delight; Juanita.

Personnel: Jeff Lederer: tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet; Kirk Knuffke: cornet; Chris Lightcap: bass; Matt Wilson: drums; John Medeski: piano.

Label: Palmetto Records | Release date: March 2014

Website: mattwilsonjazz.com | Buy music on: amazon

About the Matt Wilson Quartet

In 1996 I started the Matt Wilson Quartet and my dream to have a working jazz band has been realized. Since that time we have delighted audiences throughout the world with our acclaimed recordings and exciting live performances. The guys in the band are not only extraordinary musicians but wonderful human beings who love to have a good time! They bring the music I compose and gather to life and make every performance memorable!

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