Gerald Wilson Orchestra – In My Time – Mack Avenue Plus Gerald Wilson – Artist Selects – Pacific Jazz

by | Dec 18, 2005 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Gerald Wilson Orchestra – In My Time – Mack Avenue MAC 1025 ****:

The title of the latest Gerald Wilson album probably has several meanings, but one would surely be that this immense figure in jazz of the last 70 years has never really received the attention he deserves and its about time that he does. This CD by the nearly 87-year-old bandleader follows on his equally great “New York, New Sound.”  I was disappointed that although that one was available as an SACD this one isn’t – at least not yet. But this disc is well-recorded and Wilson’s very creative arrangements come thru fine.  The players are all first rate, including just in the trumpet section both Jon Faddis and Michael Rodriguez who was just heard in Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra. A special treat on this newly-recorded album is the very first recording of a three-part work titled The Diminished Triangle – a commission from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Wilson began as a professional jazz musician in tehe late 1930s and by 1944 had his own band. He’s a creative genius and has created not only many original works for band but also serious orchestral works performed by the New York Philharmonic among others. A number of his exciting Spanish-sounding band pieces were stimulated by his abiding interest in bull-fighting – “Lomelin” is one of those works on this CD.  Wilson is always foraging in new territory musically, and this wonderful disc shows he’s not even considering retiring from his life’s work.  Viva Gerald Wilson!

Tracks: Sax Chase, The Diminished Triangle: Dorian/Ray’s Vision at the U/Blues for Manhattan, Lomelin, A.E.N., Musette, So What, Love for Sale, Jeri

Gerald Wilson – Artist Selects – Pacific Jazz/EMI 31439-2, 75:00 *****:

During the 1960s Gerald Wilson led a terrific big band in LA which made ten LPs for the Pacific Jazz label.  For this CD compilation he has personally chosen 16 tracks from those masters and written the liner notes talking about them.  This makes a knock-out introduction of Wilson’s colorful music for anyone unfamiliar with this jazz genius. The full-up 75-minute collection includes a couple of his bullfighter-influenced tunes, some great arrangements of jazz classics such as Milestones and ‘Round Midnight, and opens with the blues he wrote for his Siamese cat “Blues for Yna Yna.”  I fondly recall strolling around the grounds of the Monterey Jazz Festival with that playing on the main stage in 1963 when his band appeared there. The collection closes with two exciting movements from Wilson’s “Teotihuacan Suite.” Among the jazz masters heard on this disc are Harold Land, Teddy Edwards, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Joe Pass, Roy Ayers, Leroy Vinnegar and Mel Lewis. Don’t miss it!
Tracks: Blues for Yna Yna, Jeri, Moody Blue, Nacny Jo, Teri, Viva Tirado, Milestones, Josefina, Paco, ‘Round Midnight, Eric, Lighthouse Blues, El Viti, Carlos, The Feather, The Serpent.

– John Henry


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