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Gerald Wilson Orchestra: New York, New Sound

For New York, New Sound the legendary bandleader/conductor composer/arranger Gerald Wilson traveled to the Apple from California and surrounded himself with fellow octogenarians Clark Terry and Frank Wess, septuagenarian Jimmy Heath, young-blood trumpeter Sean Jones and all manner of illustrious between-agers.

The only non-Wilson pieces are Davis’ “Milestones” and Coltrane’s “Equinox.” All the arrangements are by the master orchestrater himself, including the well-remembered “Viva Tirado” and “Blues for Yna Yna.” Separating these two is the stately ballad beauty of “Teri,” featuring Anthony Wilson. No nepotism here. The guitarist has already distinguished himself with his own combos. He plays an important role in the nearly-15 minute “Theme for Monterey,” in which said theme is treated to varied versions and interpretations by soloists Jesse Davis (alto sax) and Renee Rosnes (piano).

Kenny Barron is the pianist on a majority of the tracks and is his usual brilliant self; the bass chores are divided among Larry Ridley, Bob Cranshaw and Trey Henry; Lewis Nash and Mack Avenue owner/producer Stix Hooper split the drum assignment. Trumpet soloists besides Jones and Terry, who duets with himself (flugelhorn and trumpet) on “Blues for the Count,” are Jimmy Owens and Eddie Henderson. Jon Faddis is a force in the section but does not solo. “Equinox,” which spotlights four trombonists-Benny Powell, Luis Bonilla, Dennis Wilson and Doug Purviance-also has a lyrical baritone sax solo from Jay Brandford. Hats off to the all-star band, but especially Wilson for the intersectional sonic vibrancy and overall dynamics he gave them to work with.

Originally Published