Anthony Wilson – Campo Belo – Goat Hill Recordings

by | May 16, 2011 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Anthony Wilson – Campo Belo – Goat Hill Recordings GHR002-A, 58:24 ****:

(Anthony Wilson – guitar; Andre Mehmari – piano, accordion; Edu Ribeiro – drums; Guto Wirtti – bass; Joana Queiroz – clarinet; Vitor Goncalves – accordion)

Anthony Wilson has earned a reputation as a cerebral, expressive musician. Possessing an undeniable musical pedigree (his father is the legendary Gerald Wilson), his compositional acumen is intriguing with elaborate arrangements. Accomplishments include winning the Thelonious Monk Institiute International Composers’ Competition in 1995. His self-titled 2006 debut Power Of Nine earned a Grammy nomination, setting in motion a dynamic career as bandleader. Subsequent recordings with a plethora of top rate players (Chico Pinheiro, Jim Keltner, Larry Goldings Jeff Hamilton, among many) have elevated his status. In 2008, his orchestral composition Virgo was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Additionally, virtuoso guitar play has kept him in demand as a session player and live performer. For over a decade, he became a vital member of the Diana Krall Quartet. Stints with Willie Nelson, Bobby Hutcherson, Aaron Neville and Barbra Streisand (he arranged the orchestral “Love Dance” on her # 1 hit, “Love Is The Answer”) introduced Wilson to a wider audience. As a composer/bandleader/arranger, an indelible mark has been made.
The current release, Campo Belo, is a collaborative quartet with Wison and three talented young Brazilian jazz musicians. This endeavor is not a conversion of traditional jazz into bossa nova idiom. Utilizing the feel of Brazilian sound, Wilson leads the group in an integrated, natural distillation of many genres. Subtle complexities are expressed in layered representations. The opening piece, “Campo Belo” begins with an understated march time drum that sets an interesting tone. Wilson builds a flowing angular guitar, enhanced by Andre Mehmari’s countering piano lines. Maintaining a steady tempo, the guitar and piano elevate and abate intensity with equal dexterity. “March To March” has a tandem lead by Wilson and Mehmari that is harmonic and evocative. The improvisational elements are reminiscent of the earlier work of Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays. The variable intricacies of the group are coalesced on “Edu”.  Wilson’s guitar is spontaneous and the inclusion of accordion creates a different vibe.

There are a few departures from the discreet template. “Transitron” synthesizes avant garde and bop with accentuated guitar lines that are framed perfectly by the pulsating rhythm section. The reverie-like texture of the album is jolted by the straight-ahead, up-tempo “After The Flood”.  Mehmari shines with a flashy solo, while Gutto Wirti delivers a robust solo on bass. Edu Ribeiro’s drumming is immaculate, never faltering on tempo shifts. Modern classical themes are explored on the atmospheric, minimalist opus “Patrimonio”.   Campo Belo is an interesting album that intrigues its listeners.
Campo Belo; March To March; Edu; After The Flood; Patrimonio; Elyria; Valsacatu; Flor De Sumare; Etna; Transitron
–Robbie Gerson

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