Matt Wilson: Arts and Crafts (2001)
Wilson’s originals are more adventurous — more typically Wilsonian, if you will — but they don’t contradict the spirit in which the cover tunes are offered. "Lester," written in honor of the late Lester Bowie, opens with Stafford in wah-wah mode against the unison backdrop of Irwin’s bass, then develops into a slow doo-wop blues as the trumpeter gets increasingly aggressive and stunning. "Final Answer" is a diatonic free-bop theme that features Goldings going fairly "outside," something he doesn’t do that often. And the title track is a slow groove that again finds Goldings reaching, in subtle but marked contrast to the superb bop playing he does elsewhere on the disc. Indeed, Goldings’s presence is one of the album’s biggest pluses, not least because the organist’s outings on acoustic piano are so rare.
Arts and Crafts also puts a boogaloo spin on Ornette Coleman’s "Old Gospel" and wraps up with a soothing, simple arrangement of the folk melody "All Through the Night." On balance, it could be called Wilson’s most straight-ahead record yet, but it’s clearly not Wilson’s intention to fit neatly into any category. Better just to think of it as Matt Wilson music.
Track Listing: 1. Stompin
Personnel: Matt Wilson, drums; Larry Goldings, piano; Dennis Irwin, bass; Terell Stafford, trumpet
Record Label: Palmetto Records