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Anthony Wonsey: Open the Gates

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Anthony Wonsey is a pianist who comes by way of Chicago, followed by a Berklee education, and now a few years cutting his teeth on the New York scene.

Wonsey skillfully blends these elements on this album for Criss Cross. He has the soulful bite of the Windy City, the fully grounded academic training so prevalent in players today, and a sophistication forged in the metropolitan cauldron.

This recording consists of material from two sessions. There’s a quintet side featuring Nicholas Payton on trumpet and Ron Blake on tenor sax. This group performs several original pieces that embody both an exuberant feel and an intellectual sophistication, all with a dollop of soul. Payton is searing, Blake flows like butter, and Wonsey plays with a crisp attack.

Also included are two standards from a recent piano trio date. On “Invitation” and “Big Bertha”, Wonsey reinvents the songs and plays with deep meaning in this standard format.