Matt Wilson Quartet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Matt Wilson Quartet 

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Drummer and bandleader Matt Wilson has developed a healthy following by subverting mainstream jazz from within. His usual pianoless quartet, which he'll bring to town this weekend, builds its tunes on rigorous rhythms and hooky contrapuntal heads, then lifts off into the stratosphere, the two reedists pushing each other onward and upward. But on his new album, Arts and Crafts (Palmetto), Wilson seems to want to remind us that he can color inside the lines as well as the next guy, leading a totally different lineup (pianist Larry Goldings, bassist Dennis Irwin, and trumpeter Terell Stafford) in some straightforward, elegant, hard-swinging postbop. It's more than a genre exercise: with detours like an R & B-fueled tribute to Lester Bowie ("Lester"), a shot of straight scalding bebop (Bud Powell's "Webb City"), a touch of bossa nova ("Beija Flor"), and some ebullient gospel (Ornette Coleman's "Old Gospel"), it draws on the same eclectic spirit that makes his regular quartet stuff so special. On Smile, that lineup's most recent album, chaos and order grapple like wrestlers: jagged sax squeals and drum splatter open "Wooden Eye" only to collapse into a deep bluesy groove, while loose reed lines snake all over the big funk rhythms of "Big Butt." The lineup for this gig is slightly different than on record: alto saxophonist and bass clarinetist Andrew D'Angelo, tenor and soprano saxophonist Jeff Lederer, and bassist Chris Lightcap. Saturday, June 30, 8 PM, Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway; 773-878-5552.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michael Jackson.


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