One of the most in-demand jazz musicians in America is coming to CCM this Sunday, February 9 at 4pm. Matt Wilson is a drummer who’s played with all the Who’s Whos but also loves to lead; in fact, he’s headed a quartet since 1996. Released a couple weeks ago on the Palmetto label, Gathering Call features special guest artist John Medeski from Medeski, Martin and Wood on piano. The record’s split almost evenly between standards and originals, and I’m intrigued by Wilson’s choice of standards. “Main Stem” and “You Dirty Dog” are definitely lesser-known Ellington compositions, and “Pumpkin’s Delight” was penned by tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, who, in spite of extended work with Thelonious Monk, remains relatively obscure. (He played at the Blue Wisp once, incidentally, back in the O’Bryonville days.) It’s a treat to hear these overlooked compositions in a small-group setting (drums/bass/cornet/sax & clarinet/piano).
Much of the press about Wilson has focused on his eagerness to make the jazz experience less stuffy and more fun. In his words, “We perform music that is not afraid to challenge AND entertain.” Makes sense to me; in fact, while listening to Gathering Call I’m reminded of some earlier incarnations of Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition, whose music was both playful and adventurous. In any case, Wilson’s quartet show at CCM should smoke. Here’s the full skinny per the CCM website:
4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9
• Jazz Series •
ARTS AND CRAFTS WITH M@ WILSON
Scott Belck and Dominic Marino, music directors and conductors
Featuring guest artists Matt Wilson’s Arts and Crafts Ensemble
Location: Corbett Auditorium
Tickets: $12 general, $6 non-UC students, UC students FREE.
And here’s a video of the Matt Wilson quartet performing “Rear Control:”