Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts
Friday, February 22, 8 p.m.| Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU
"Totally relaxed and in the pocket...explod[ing] with joie de vivre...delightfully unpretentious."
—Michael Jackson, DownBeat
(For music and links, scroll to the bottom of this page)
No, you’re not dreaming: Matt Wilson has indeed been here more than once (he’s a member of Trio M and Be Bread)—but never as a leader of one of his own groups. And anyway, as far as we’re concerned, he’s welcome back any time: he’s known throughout the jazz world as one of the most genuine, gregarious, humble, and downright funny guys you’ll ever meet.
In fact, Wilson has a reputation as the class clown of contemporary jazz. But what that really means is that nobody has more fun playing than he does, and nobody is more fun to listen to. (Or watch: he loves his work, he’s a consummate showman, and he’s determined that audiences at his shows should enjoy themselves.) And don’t let his sense of humor fool you: Wilson is also one of the most versatile and respected drummers around, and Arts & Crafts is widely regarded as one of the tightest working bands in jazz. Their latest CD, An Attitude for Gratitude, was our top pick for 2012 album of the year.
He’s also insanely busy. In his 20-year career, Wilson has been first-call drummer for Joe Lovano, Buster Williams, Lee Konitz, and Charlie Haden. He’s collaborated frequently with members of the Jazz Composers Collective, particularly Ben Allison, Frank Kimbrough, and Ted Nash. He’s probably played on more albums than any jazz drummer under 50. And in the last two years alone he’s made his debut as a leader at the Village Vanguard; been tapped to produce kids’ concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center; played with Herbie Hancock at the White House; and performed live sets (with his “Christmas Tree-O” and with Arts & Crafts) for NPR Music. He was the first ever artist-in-residence at the prestigious Litchfield Jazz Festival, a post he has since reprised. And in 2009 his smiling face graced the covers of DownBeat and Jazz Times in the same month.
Wilson’s bandmates are no slouches, either—and one of them, keyboardist Gary Versace, is also no stranger to RJA audiences, having played here with both Ron Miles & Rudy Royston and with the John Abercrombie Organ Trio. Versace has two records under his own name, plays in multiple projects with drummer-composer John Hollenbeck, and took the “Rising Star Organist” category three years running in the DownBeat Critics’ Poll. Trumpeter Terell Stafford is a veteran of the Bobby Watson quintet, a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and a leader on six record dates. And bassist Martin Wind has multiple sideman and composer credits in addition to leading his own groups, with whom he’s recorded a dozen albums and a DVD.
Tickets ($15 General Admission, $10 Students & Seniors) are available here at our website, or at Wildberries, Wildwood Music, People's Records, and The Works.
Arts and Crafts will also present a pre-show, open public workshop at 4:00 p.m.—again, that's before the concert—on the afternoon of February 22nd in Room 131 of the "old" HSU Music Building (just across the walkway from the entrance to Fulkerson Recital Hall). People of all levels of experience are welcome to attend, and admission is FREE.
Words & Pixels: