Matt Wilson Quartet with Dewey Redman | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Matt Wilson Quartet with Dewey Redman


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For those who have followed drummer Matt Wilson's activities over the last few years, it'll be no surprise that he's hooked up with Dewey Redman this weekend. Redman--the sometimes transportive saxist and veteran of groups led by Ornette Coleman and Keith Jarrett--hired Wilson for his trio tour last summer; returning the favor, the young drummer made Redman the centerpiece of his debut as a leader, As Wave Follows Wave (Palmetto), which the New York Times cited as one of 1996's best jazz releases. Redman provides the name recognition for this concert, as he should; but it's no accident that on Wilson's album he sounds so focused and sprightly. Wilson has that effect on other musicians. His loosey-goosey style allows him to remain hypersensitive to what he hears, and to all but anticipate what a soloist will do next--which allows him to help shape each solo even as he comments on it. Wilson plays with a contagious enthusiasm and great individuality, even though he draws on a wide range of well-studied models. His dry, uncluttered kit sound recalls Stan Levey and Shelly Manne, who exemplified the cool west-coast style of the 50s; meanwhile, he manages to put his own stamp on the rhythmic innovations of Paul Motian, Elvin Jones, and Jack DeJohnette (to name three obvious and disparate examples). His occasional use of unexpected sounds--tuned woodblocks, birdcalls--borrows from Spike Jones on the one hand and the Art Ensemble of Chicago on the other, and in quiet passages, when he tones down the intensity to shadowbox with a soloist, Wilson even brings to mind the late Steve McCall. An Illinois native, Wilson has returned to Chicago often, as a member of the Either/Orchestra, the Charlie Kohlhase Quintet, and Fred Hersch's trio; his regular quartet places reedmen Joel Frahm and Andrew D'Angelo out front and also features bassist Yosuke Inoue. Sunday, 6 PM, Unity Temple, 875 Lake, Oak Park; 708-383-8873. NEIL TESSER

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Matt Wilson by Richard Frank, photo of Dewey Redman by Lauren Deutsch.

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