Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gerald Wilson - Artist Selects (Blue Note, 2006)

Wilson has had a long and successful career as an arranger and composer (and occasional trumpeter) on the west coast jazz scene. This is a one disc collection with the selections chosen by Wilson himself, made up of from his recordings on the Pacific Jazz label in the early to mid 1960's. These are all large band recordings, but there are some interesting touches that make all the difference. The first few tracks including “Jeri” and “Blues for Yna-Yna” feature songs that are built around the swirling Hammond b3 organ of Richard “Groove” Holmes. Wilson was a big fan of bullfighting, and Spanish music comes through as an influence on the brassy “Carlos” and “Paco” which also features some woncerful guitar from Joe Pass. Along with the original compositions, there are some well arranged standards featured on this disc. Miles Davis' “Milestones” expands on the original quintet version with a large group riffing through the melody. Thelonious Monk's “Round Midnight” gets a fine turn with another solo spot for Pass. Wilson's liner notes are interesting and provide background information and historical context for the music. The music here is interesting and original, this is a very classy and well done collection which is recommended to jazz fans interested in Wilson's music.

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