Matt Wilson – Matt Wilson’s Good Trouble (ENG review)

Palmetto Records - Street Date June 14th 2024
Matt Wilson - Matt Wilson's Good Trouble

Here’s the album of a very beautiful team, led by the excellent drummer Matt Wilson, in a quintet format accompanied by Tia Fuller on saxophone, Jeff Lederer on piano and vocals, Dawn Clement on piano and vocals, and bassist Ben Allison. They offer a high-level sound and rhythmic palette on quite a complex form. Again, you’ll need some knowledge of contemporary jazz to become familiar with this album. If you do, you’ll discover a true musical gem.

If the name Matt Wilson rings a bell, it’s probably because he was invited to perform at a State Dinner at the White House hosted by President Obama in 2011, where he played alongside a plethora of jazz stars, including Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti, Randy Brecker, Antonio Hart, and James Genus. Add these names to a list of legends Wilson has played with, including Andrew Hill, Bobby Hutcherson, Geri Allen, Elvis Costello, Candido Camero, Freddie Redd, Butch Warren, Cedar Walton, Kenny Barron, Christian McBride, John Zorn, Benny Golson, Buster Williams, Marshall Allen, Nels Cline, Rufus Reid, Jason Moran, Bill Henderson, Frank Wess, Anat Cohen, Steve Nelson, George Cables, Mulgrew Miller, Chris Potter, Regina Carter, Benny Green, John Clayton, Bobby Watson, Eddie Gomez, Wynton Marsalis, Paquito D’Rivera, George Mraz, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, Bill Frisell, Hubert Laws, and Hank Jones.

Expect here an album particularly well-constructed, offering beautiful poetic passages that will inevitably move you, especially since the quality of the compositions and arrangements of this album make ample room for jazz history with ancient influences immersed in contemporary writing. At the drums, Matt Wilson acts more as a percussionist than a drummer, working with incredible finesse, almost magically and spatially. You can even feel the impulse he gives to the other musicians, who are also remarkable. It’s an uncompromising album that takes you by the hand and immerses you in a beautiful universe. Matt Wilson’s career speaks for itself; he has also amassed an impressive catalog of awards. He won the “Rising Star Drummer” category in the renowned DownBeat critics’ poll for five consecutive years and consistently ranks high in the DownBeat readers’ poll as well as in the JazzTimes and Modern Drummer polls. His face has been featured on the cover of all influential jazz publications, including DownBeat, JazzTimes, Modern Drummer, Coda, JazzEd, JazzTimes Educational Guide, The New York City Jazz Record, and Jazziz. He has twice won the “Drummer of the Year” honors at the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) Awards, having been nominated every year since the inception of these awards. Wilson was named “Fan Favorite Drummer of the Year” at the Hot House NYC Jazz Awards in 2015 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the College of Fine Arts at Wichita State University in 2016. More recently, he was named “Musician of the Year 2018” by the JJA and also received the honor of “Album of the Year” from the organization for “Honey And Salt.”

This is yet another beautiful CD that deserves to be on our “Essentials” list. Hopefully, this quintet will be featured in many festivals this summer because given the dazzling performance on this album, it’s bound to be a magical moment on stage.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, May 13th 2024

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