Gathering Call

Gathering Call

Drummer/bandleader/composer Matt Wilson draws from tradition without being limited by it, and he embraces avant elements while keeping his music accessible. On 2014’s Gathering Call, Wilson’s quartet is joined by pianist John Medeski, best known for his work with Medeski Martin & Wood. On the opener, Duke Ellington’s “Main Stem,” Wilson, Medeski, and bassist Chris Lightcap swing hard as saxophonist Jeff Lederer and cornet player Kirk Knuffke engage in a nice back-and-forth. The Wilson original “Some Assembly Required” brings to mind Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis. The band smoke on the track, with Lederer burning it up on tenor and Medeski turning in a dissonant, highly charged solo. “Barack Obama,” a mellow piece by late bassist Butch Warren, is marked by cascading piano runs and nice clarinet work by Lederer. Wilson includes a cover of the Beyoncé hit “If I Were a Boy,” which fits in without a fuss. Then the band shift gears for the hard bop of Charlie Rouse’s “Pumpkin’s Delight” before wrapping things up with a spare rendering of the traditional “Juanita.”

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