Coming to the Blue Wisp on Friday, October 4

On Friday, October 4 at The Blue Wisp a free concert will take place that’s been a long time coming. If you’ve seen vibraphonist King Reeves and pianist Charlie Wilson perform live, you know they’re world-class jazz musicians. Yet they’ve never played together at the Blue Wisp, which due to its high profile and central location (700 Race Street) is an ideal venue for people to check out these veteran players.

The concert is free, and it runs from 6pm to 10pm. Both the early start and the lack of a cover charge are an attempt to woo the nine-to-five folks who get off work on Friday and want to either (a) try something different or (b) were curious about The Blue Wisp (or both). The show is being billed as an Evening of Duets because another talented twosome, April Aloisio on vocals and Philip Burkhead on piano, will open the show. Continue reading “Coming to the Blue Wisp on Friday, October 4”

Charlie Wilson and King Reeves at the Greenwich Tavern Sunday, December 30

At 8:00 p, Sunday, December 30, The Greenwich Tavern will host an evening of music featuring two acts that are some of the best jazz musicians in the city. The opening act, the very talented jazz  and lovely April Alosio, has been around long enough to have an album out on vinyl (I know, because I own it), and the artists she’s worked with include the phenomenally gifted guitarist Fareed Haque. April has a fine voice that sounds equally at home with both bossa nova and jazz standards, and I look forward to catching up with her.

The headliners for the evening are the duet of King Reeves on vibes and Charlie Wilson on piano. In my mind the two of them together are the best jazz group in the city. In fact, I like King and Charlie even better as a duet than when they form two-fifths of a quintet, as they sometimes do. In the more scaled-down setting their sense of time is more elastic than it could ever be in a larger group setting. Also, you can tell that they push each other. If Reeves is that much more groove-oriented, when the situation warrants Charlie whips out some Filthy McNasty himself—and just about the time you think Charlie Wilson has out-razzledazzled  all competitors by deconstructing and reconstructing a melody in every possible way, Reeves comes back with something even wilder. Really there’s no need for a rhythm section, as these guys are gonna swing no matter what. Continue reading “Charlie Wilson and King Reeves at the Greenwich Tavern Sunday, December 30”

A Brilliant Pianist

Charlie Wilson is a pianist who lives in Cincinnati and plays out on a rare occasion, usually in the company of King Reeves, an equally talented vibraphonist. Sometimes the two of them work as a duet and sometimes they expand the lineup to a quintet. Decades ago, while he was living in California, Charlie played with Don Cherry – and this goes back far enough that it was actually before the Ornette Coleman Quartet that changed the shape of jazz. After moving to Cincinnati, Charlie toured with Roland Kirk.

  Continue reading “A Brilliant Pianist”