Matt Wilson's Big Happy Family CD Release Celebration Tue, May 31st at The Jazz Standard

Matt Wilson's Big Happy Family

CD Release Celebration

Tue, May 31st
Sets 7:30 & 9:30 pm
at The Jazz Standard
116 E 27th St
New York, NY 10016


Terell Stafford- trumpet
Jeff Lederer- tenor & soprano saxophone, clarinet
Joel Frahm- tenor & soprano saxophone
Andrew D' Angelo- alto saxophone, bass clarinet

Aaron Diehl – piano

Chris Lightcap – bass

Paul Sikivie – bass

Matt Wilson – drums

DownBeat Magazine June 2016

For some, the loss of loved one is a time to mourn, a time to re ect, a time to celebrate. For Matt Wilson, it was a time for all of the above. In June of 2014, Wilson lost his wife Felicia to leukemia. Everyone who knows Wilson was crushed by the news. With Beginning Of A Memory, the drummer re-enters the recording studio for the rst time since Felicia's passing.

Convening all the members of his best- known groups—the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Cra s and Christmas Tree-O—Wilson cre- ated new renditions of his older material that his wife loved most. e result is an interna- tional superband, some musicians dubbing their parts from afar, some joining the drum- mer/composer in the studio. Covering a wide range of styles and sounds, Matt Wilson's Big Happy Family recalls nothing less than the var- ious assortments led by Charles Mingus, with a similar atmosphere of swing and sensitivity.

e 19-track release refuses to ag, from the marching-band frivolity of the opener, "Score!!" to Larry Goldings' bittersweet but playful piano solo on "How Ya Goin" to the blues-tooting "Getting Friendly" and the funky sax section beat-down of "Schoolboy ug." A touching homage, "Flowers For Felicia, " com- bines the melodies of Wilson's "Orchids, " writ- ten for his wife, with one of her favorite tunes, the folk song "Wildwood Flower." Beginning Of A Memory is as special an album as you will hear all year.

—Ken Micallef Review

Matt Wilson's Big Happy Family: Beginning Of A Memory
Published: May 15, 2016
Views: 2, 312

It's easy to imagine the phone calls, drummer Matt Wilson made, using his best imitation of Elwood from the 1980 Blues Brothers movie, "We're putting the band back together, we're on a mission from God." And like that, current members and alumni of the drummer's bands: the Matt Wilson Quartet, Arts & Crafts, and Christmas Tree-O assembled to commune and revisit the music Wilson's late wife Felicia loved.

This recording was Wilson's first since he lost his wife to leukemia in 2014. It certainly was fitting to perform the compositions she loved, and by the performers Felicia considered her extended family. Instead of a wake, the music is a celebration. One crafted in the true Wilson fashion, without written arrangements or rehearsals.

The relaxed groove pervades the session. In "Feel The Sway, " you really feel the oscillations of his two-bassists' Yosuke Inoue and Chris Lightcap trio piece and Terell Stafford's growling "Lester" tribute to Lester Bowie with cornet star Kirk Knuffke. Felicia certainly had great taste, as this session acts also like a Matt Wilson greatest hits record. He presents an intimate picture with pieces like "Flowers For Felicia" and the title track. But also there's the wackiness of "Go Team Go!/Endless Love, " with a rah-rah cheering section that morphs into Lionel Ritchie's saccharine pop tune and "Schoolboy Thug, " a piece Wilson has been known to don a mullet wig for his drum solo, while saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo writhes on the ground.

The music is crazy fun, but also gratifyingly sentimental. Larry Goldings solo prepared piano rendition of "How Ya Doin'" tugs at the tear ducts, as does "Getting Friendly, " with Knuffke, D'Angelo, and Jeff Lederer proffering whispered notes over Wilson's time keeping pulse. The disc ends with his most beautiful piece, "July Hymn, " written originally as a homage to Don Cherry, but from now on it should be expanded to include Felicia Lynn Wilson.

Track Listing: Score; Lester; Searchlight; Beginning of a Memory; Request Potato; How Ya Goin'?; Father of the Year; Getting Friendly; Andrew's Ditty; Flowers for Felicia (Orchids-Wildwood Flower); No Outerwear; Potato Radio; Go Team Go!/Endless Love; 25 Years of Rootabagas; Feel the Sway; Schoolboy Thug; July Hymn.

Personnel: Terell Stafford: trumpet; Kirk Knuffke: cornet; Jeff Lederer: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Andrew D'Angelo: alto saxophone, bass clarinet; Gary Versace: piano, organ, accordion; Larry Goldings; piano; Martin Wind: acoustic bass; Paul Sikivie: acoustic bass; Yosuke Inoue: acoustic bass; Chris Lightcap: acoustic bass, electric bass; Matt Balitsaris: acoustic guitar, dobro; Matt Wilson: drums.

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