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Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts: The Scenic Route

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The Scenic Route, the third outing from drummer Matt Wilson’s quartet Arts & Crafts, takes us on an excursion to far-flung places-from the childlike exuberance of the title track to the somber-yet-hopeful medley of Donald Ayler’s “Our Prayer” and John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”

The album is dedicated to saxophonist Dewey Redman, who died last year and with whom Wilson had a long association. Redman’s spirit pervades the record, though not in a mournful way. Rather, it is celebrated on tunes such as “In Touch With Dewey,” whose theme expresses nothing but joy. Wilson drums counter-rhythmically until bassist Dennis Irwin carves out a funky line; then Wilson digs in with a grooving beat, trumpeter Terell Stafford blows some New Orleans-style phrases, and Gary Versace lays down soulful passages on the organ. Once the handclaps are thrown in, involuntary head nods ensue.

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