Hey Dude, Johnny Sent Me!

So I saw one of my favourite drummers on Sunday, Matt Wilson.  He’s amazing, always one of my favourite people to watch play: very musical, and doesn’t care about showing how much he loves the music that’s going on.

His playing is a lot like his personality, really.  He’s very funny and quick, but extremely genuin
e.  He tells jokes and puts on faces that if it were anyone else doing it, I’d be annoyed at his personality.  But he’s just in it for the fun of it all, and he’s a brilliant musician to boot.

Much like Jaki Byard, he can make the most mundane tunes sound interesting and fresh.  My personal favourite for the past little while is his Christmas trio, featuring Paul “Wonder Boy” Sikivie on bass and Jeff “Swing N’ Dix” Lederer on Tenor Sax.  Really solid playing.  Jeff is the first Tenor I’m hiring when I get to NYC, and Paul is one of those David Wong types that is just on every gig for no reason(other than he’s a killing player and a great guy).  Really forward thinking music(especially if you get to see them in the Quartet format with Kirk Knuffe on the Monet C’onet), but swinging as hell.

Video Interlude:


So whether it’s Hark the Herald or an original tune of Matt’s set to Carl Sandburg’s “Choose”(played to a Chicago audience, multi-levels of hip), Matt will make sure that he speaks his mind musically, and that the audience leaves satisfied.

There are many different topics that come to mind when talking about Matt’s music, all of them too deep to blog on.  Humor in music, the state of people playing original music, how much I like swing, how much Matt Wilson swings, some more sideman-as-leader business.

Humor is the most important part.  I thought yesterday about when the last time a Miles Davis record made me laugh.  Most of the people I really like have humor in their music.  Listening to music makes me smile if it’s good, but if it’s also funny, then it’s the greatest feeling ever.

I’ll probably write more on that later, as it’s a big nut to crack.  Just remember that even though someone is playing “Blue Pepper” by Duke Ellington, it’s ok to say that you’re playing it because “It’s the tune that proves that Duke loved to ROCK.”  At least if you’re as genuine as Matt Wilson.  Go see his shows when  you can(Trio M is easier and easier to see, now that the world is realizing that getting three brilliant player/composers on stage is a great idea…) and just remember to say that Johnny Itinerary sent you.

“They’re on a safari, but don’t worry.  They’ll be back.”

-Charlie Parker, on Lennie Tristano


~ by Martin Porter on July 6, 2011.

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