Terell Stafford - tp, flh
Gary Versace - p, acc
Dennis Irwin - b, cl
Matt Wilson - d (myspace | website)
A few days ago, Jeff Albert wrote a quasi-love letter to Matt Wilson. After seeing Arts & Crafts last night, I feel like doing the same. Here's what it might look like:
Dear Matt,Then again, maybe I should wait until our second date to let my feelings out. I wouldn't want to scare him off.
I love you. I know that might sound a little forward - after all, you don't even know me - but let me explain.
Let's face it: in 2007, straight-ahead jazz be boring. It is too often, if anything, the sound of constraint, or of missed opportunities. But when you guys started the concert with Monk's "We See," all I could think was how it was bursting with life! With happiness! It was real. It swung in a natural yet unsystematic way. Like kids in a playground, there was a sense of freedom to it. And then your "Free Range Chicken" reminded me of Jimmy Giuffre's cowboy songs on The Western Suite.
Terell was bouncy and impassioned, Gary gave things a soulful bent. Dennis even played some musette-style clarinet on a fun couple of tunes. And you... Well, just how is it that you can make a drum solo consisting mostly of rolling a drumstick on the snare drum sound so good, in this context?
You talked to us about playing with Dewey Redman for a dozen years and dedicated the last song of the second set, "In Touch With Dewey," to him. You launched it by clanging away irrevently on a small gong laid on the floor tom. That spirit of irreverent celebration (of Dewey, of classic jazz feels) infused the whole set and made everyone in the room happy. It made the guys on the bandstand happy (it even made the people at the bar happy: the Tongerlo dubbel that had cost me 2.50 before the concert cost me 50 cents less at intermission). And what makes you happy, makes me happy, Matt.
By the way, why do you pronounce Gary's last name "verse ace", rather than "versacci," like the fashion designer? Maybe that's something we could talk about by the fireplace, on a long winter's evening.
P.S. I loved the glasses, too.