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Matt Wilson: Arts and Crafts

From reading his accompanying description of Arts and Crafts I get the feeling Matt Wilson is a sensitive soul; that impression is clearly borne out by his drumming. He is a veritable singer on the traps, always musical, always supportive, forever dialogic. Perhaps that’s why older heads like Dewey Redman have found an apt partner in Wilson. Dig his adroit stick work on “Webb City,” doing the Bud Powell anthem proud with a sense of fluid drive and crisp swing that at less than four minutes makes it lamentably brief.

Wilson’s quartet includes rising trumpeter Terell Stafford, pianist Larry Goldings and bassist Dennis Irwin. Stafford’s substantial tone breathes the sumptuous Latin melody “Beija Flor,” and he brings spirits of Bowie, sans mimicry, to Wilson’s tribute “Lester.” Wilson’s fascination with Ornette Coleman’s oeuvre shows up a couple of times, especially on the Coleman piece “Old Gospel,” from New and Old Gospel, the great 1967 Jackie McLean Blue Note date. You can also hear it on “Final Answer,” an Ornettelike melody, and Coleman is referenced in a couple of Goldings’ solo phrases. It is also clear that Wilson has hued his approach to the drums from several sources, and Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins are quite lucid in his subtleties. Irwin’s statement of the melody on “There’s No You” is another gem.

Originally Published