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Before & After: Steve Wilson

On the importance of the old school

Steve Wilson (photo by John Abbott)
Steve Wilson (photo by John Abbott)

Multi-instrumentalist Steve Wilson, best known as an alto and soprano saxophonist, is busier than ever these days. One look at his tour schedule can confirm that fact: a recent U.S. trek with the Maria Schneider Orchestra; a date with Christian McBride’s big band and another alongside the bassist in a one-off Weather Report tribute; duo sets with drummer Lewis Nash, pianist Fred Hersch and others; East and West Coast performances of an all-star salute to Stephen Sondheim. Wilson, 56, is also an in-demand clinician, and teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University, the City College of New York and the Juilliard School. His most recent release as a leader is Live in New York: The Vanguard Sessions (Random Act), and his next effort will be the vinyl-only release Sit Back, Relax & Unwind (J.M.I.), due out later this year. In early March, we carved out some listening time at the Watergate Hotel, prior to the Schneider Orchestra’s soundcheck a stone’s throw away at the Kennedy Center.

1. Nate Smith
“Bounce: Parts I & II” (KINFOLK: Postcards From Everywhere, Ropeadope). Smith, drums; Jaleel Shaw, alto saxophone; Chris Potter, tenor saxophone; Jeremy Most, guitar; Kris Bowers, Rhodes; Fima Ephron, electric bass. Recorded in 2014.

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