MATT WILSON QUARTET
Perhaps nobody who watched Matt Wilson anchor the Either/Orchestra and Charlie Kohlhase’s quintet, the first two groups to bring Wilson back to his native Illinois after he moved east, foresaw his emergence as a bandleader. But no matter who cooks up the music at the front of the band, Wilson acts as a sous-chef behind his smallish trap set, displaying a leader’s grasp of any tune he supports. His stick work is as breezy and discursive as a poolroom debate, and he shifts textures with alacrity to render remarkable detail and nuance. It makes sense that he’s now touring with his own group. Actually, Wilson made his recorded debut as a leader two years ago, on As Wave Follows Wave (Palmetto), then commanded a spotlight when New York Times critic Peter Watrous put the disc on his top ten list that year. Now comes Wilson’s second (and even better) date for the same label, Going Once, Going Twice, which showcases the quartet he brings to town this weekend (the albums also feature appearances by saxophonists Dewey Redman and Lee Konitz, respectively). In the front line, reedmen Joel Frahm (tenor and soprano saxes) and Andrew D’Angelo (alto sax and bass clarinet) have developed a beautiful musical friendship; though their phrasing is similar, they wring a great variety of expression from only four different horns, employing contrasting timbres, countermelodies, and judiciously placed squeals. On bass, Yosuke Inoue follows the examples of Charlie Haden, Malachi Favors, Reggie Workman, and Dave Holland, all great, full-toned players who have teamed with post-60s drummers to create rhythm sections of such verve that you barely miss the piano. Wilson himself juggles hyperactive jazz and vintage swing, taps into shuffle rhythms and country-and-western beats, and all the while maintains absolute control–even when he seems, as he usually does, to be everywhere at once. Wednesday, 9 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552. NEIL TESSER
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Richard Frank.