Thursday, May 8, 2014

Matt Wilson Quartet + John Medeski, Gathering Call

Jazz marches on. It does not stand still. Nothing does unless it dies and jazz is not dead by any means. On the contrary.

Take drummer Matt Wilson's Quartet. They are joined by John Medeski on piano for a very lively Gathering Call (Palmetto 2169). The group blows strong because the players are strong like that. Jeff Lederer settles in nicely here on tenor, soprano and clarinet. Kirk Knuffke, who we've heard some great work from lately, takes the cornet chair. Chris Lightcap establishes a strong lower foundation on bass. Then of course Medeski and Wilson.

The Wilson tunes are well-written, memorable and establish the mood for some heavy blowing most of the time. Then there is Duke's "Main Stem"--where we are treated to Jeff's allusion to Paul Gonsalves--along with another, lesser-known Duke, a traditional tune and some other neglected jazz repertoire goodies.

This is ultra-modern hard- and post-bop that drives onto the edge of mainstream in an unforced, natural, heated way. Everybody pulls the weight as if it were light. Don't get me wrong, they work it. But in a way that seems second-nature to them, as the considerable work each spent getting to this level allows.

I do recommend this one heartily. Wilson is a drummer of magnitude. Now we see he is a leader of magnitude as well.

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