Our Gang (2001)

Ellington, McCartney, Losesser, Bagg, Wilson, Burrell

Anthony Wilson

Much of Anthony Wilson’s reputation, remarkable for one still in his early 30s, rests on his writing abilities. A triplethreat composer with a unique ear for melody, harmony and rhythm, Wilson’s charts for his celebrated nine-piece ensemble are strongly grounded in the jazz tradition even as they maintain a thoroughly modern, forward-looking perspective. 

His skills have won him a slew of honors: the Thelonious Monk International Composers’ Competition in 1995, a Grammy nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance in 1997, The Gil Evans Fellowship in composition from the International Association of Jazz Educators in 1999, top-ranking (tied with Dave Douglas) in the composers deserving wider recognition category in Downbeat magazine’s 2000 International Critics’ Poll. 

But composition is only half the Wilson story. Anyone who has seen him perform, whether with his incisive nonet, as a member of the orchestra led by his father, distinguished bandleader Gerald Wilson, or in various gigs with saxophonists Bennie Wallace and Ernie Watts, trumpeter Marcus Printup, singer Madeleine Peyroux and others, know that he’s also a smart, sensitive guitarist, one who brings the same ear for tradition, melody and harmony to his instrument that he brings to his writing.

* NativeDSD makes this recording available for the first time as a DSD Download to a wider audience, outside the US and Canada.
* NativeDSD exclusively offers this recording as DSD 128 and DSD 256 Downloads (see Tech Specs for more info).

 

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Anthony Wilson

Anthony Wilson is a guitarist and composer known for a nuanced body of work that moves fluidly across genres. Wilson has long been curious about blurring borders and finding the place where where style and possibility intersect. 

Born in Los Angeles, Wilson is the son of the late jazz trumpeter and bandleader Gerald Wilson. That lineage has deeply informed his creative trajectory, compositional choices, instrumental groupings and the wide-ranging discography that blooms out of them.  Wilson’s acclaimed collection of organ-trio albums for Groove Note — Our Gang  and Savivity, with Hammond organist Joe Bagg and drummer Mark Ferber, and later Jack of Hearts, featuring Larry Goldings on organ, and alternating drummers Jim Keltner and Jeff Hamilton, reimagine and reframe post-bop, soul-inflected jazz. 

An inventive soloist and sensitive accompanist, Wilson has provided texture and authority both on stage and in recording sessions for jazz legends such as Ron Carter, Mose Allison, Bobby Hutcherson, Madeleine Peyroux, Bennie Wallace, Joe Sample, Al Jarreau, Harold Land, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Since the late 1980s he has been a member of his father’s jazz orchestra, assuming the leadership of the ensemble since the maestro’s passing in 2014.

While his footing is firmly in the jazz idiom, Wilson pivots with ease into other genres. Over the last decade, he’s been part of sessions and performances with a diverse roster of artists, including Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Aaron Neville, and Barbra Streisand. In 2009, he arranged and orchestrated Brazilian composer Ivan Lins’ “Love Dance” for Ms. Streisand’s grammy-nominated album, Love is the Answer.  

Since 2001, he has been a core component of Diana Krall’s quartet, after joining her for a series of concerts in Paris at the Olympia Theater which became the Grammy-winning recording and concert film Live in Paris (2002).

A gifted composer as well, Wilson, while still in his 20s, won the Thelonious Monk Institute International Composers’ Competition in 1995. Since then he has received commissions from IAJE, the Henry Mancini Institute, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and the luthier John Monteleone — for whom Wilson composed “Seasons,” a song cycle for a quartet of Monteleone’s handcrafted instruments called “The Four Seasons.”  The premiere performance of the piece, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, coincided with the Met’s exhibition “Guitar Heroes” in 2011. That same year Wilson released Campo Belo, a collection of original songs recorded in São Paulo, which partnered him with three of Brazil’s up-and-coming musicians, pianist André Mehmari, drummer Edu Riberio and bassist Guto Wirtti. 

photo: from booklet 'Jack of Hearts'

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Our Gang (2001)

Ellington, McCartney, Losesser, Bagg, Wilson, Burrell

Anthony Wilson

    SA-CD.Net -

This is a very short 'review' :-), but if you like trio's this is a 'must listen'. From the delicate intro on the first track to the great rhythmic propulsion of 'Chitlins'. I really like what the guys have done with 'Luck Be A Lady'. And I can go on and on... The 'Gang' put in a great performance and the recording is intimate and of great quality (it earned a Golden Ear Award by TAS). The soundstage is exactly like you see on the picture on the sleeve, with Anthony in the middle right, Joe Bagg on the organ in the front left and Mark Ferber on drums in the back. Anthony Wilson is a very fluid guitarist, but Joe Bagg on Hammond B3 matches that note for note. The more I listen to this disc the more I start to appreciate the incredible nimbleness he displays on the organ. Ferber on drums has a firm but at the same time, light touch and you can easily hear how he is driving, supporting, filling and laying the rhythmic foundation.

[read full review]

    All Music -

This workout by the guitarist in a trio is a welcome change of pace. Wilson has a melodic and boppish style with an attractive tone. He interacts with two fellow citizens of Los Angeles: organist Joe Bagg and drummer Mark Feber. Wilson contributes three originals and also plays songs by Bagg, Kenny Burrell, the Beatles, Frank Loesser, and Duke Ellington ("Prelude to a Kiss"). Overall this is a fine straight-ahead jazz date by an underrated but talented guitarist.

Scott Yanow[read full review]

    Audiophile Audition

Wilson is a guitarist of today with not only amazing chops but also gangbuster writing abilities. He’s the son of famed (and underappreciated) big band leader Gerald Wilson. This album grew out of his love of a sort of Harlem barroom jazz exemplified by B3 virtuoso Jack McDuff’s recordings with sax and guitar. Three of tunes here, including the title one, are Wilson’s, and his nearly ten-minute opus on the Beatles’ I Want You is light years beyond the usual jazz variations-on-a-tune. The eight tracks close out with a lovely version of Ellington’s Prelude to a Kiss. B3-tickler Joe Bagg is no slouch here - his pedal-shuffling will give your subwoofer(s) a run for their money if you have them. I’m a huge B3 fan - extending to really enjoying the music of a funkier nature than I normally listen to as long as it has a B3 in it. The original recording was done with DSD, so this version is pretty much what was heard in the studio. Bernie Grundman did the mastering. Hard to believe an audiophile gold CD could suffer from anything characterized as grunge, but next to this pristine and transparent-sounding DSD edition it now does. There’s also more gut-level impact to the pedal notes of the B3. This is just about the best jazz stereo DSD I’ve auditioned to date. Tracks: Our Gang, Chitlins Con Carne, Britta’s Blues, Time Flies, Road Trip, Luck Be a Lady, I Want You, Prelude to a Kiss.

John Henry[read full review]

    Jazz Times

Guitarist Anthony Wilson, the son of bandleader Gerald Wilson, has garnered numerous accolades for his compositions and his big-band arrangements. Not bad for a musician who is still only in his early 30s. For Our Gang, he opts for the organ-trio format, with drummer Mark Ferber and organist Joe Bagg. For an organ-trio recording, things get started on the left foot somewhat: “Our Gang” is a laid-back Latin original that enables Wilson to get in some nice melodic playing but suggests that this album isn’t going to be a traditional funky workout. But the trio’s cover of Kenny Burrell’s “Chitlins con Carne” simmers from the get-go, though Wilson smartly builds his solo slowly and turns up the heat as things progress. The remaining tunes, while not exactly fitting into the classic organ-trio mold, feature plenty of bright moments, including the brisk, long, fluid lines of “Luck Be a Lady,” the backbeat-oriented “Road Trip” and a funky reading of the Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” There’s no question that Wilson is a fine, exceptionally fluid player who knows how to build a solo (and write a nice tune), witnessed by this disc’s diverse, sometimes sophisticated material.

Jim Ferguson [read full review]

    Positive Feedback (10+10+10) -

Provenance = Live and direct to 2-channel DSD via Meitner chipset; recorded by Michael C. Ross and Darren Morra; produced by Ying Tan, Sebastian Koh and Joe Harley; mastered by Bernie Grundman I have to say that I wasn’t familiar with Anthony Wilson (jazz guitar), Joe Bagg (Hammond B-3) and Mark Ferber (drums)…but I am now! Ying Tan was kind enough to send this album along for a listen. Groove Note albums are always a treat for me. Ying and company are fiends for "only the best." They don’t compromise on the sound, and always deliver music that amazes me for its beauty and excellence. (Look at what Groove Note has done with Jacintha… with Luqman Hamza… with Jay McShann, for example — you have bought those, haven’t you?!) But these folks I didn’t know. I popped the album on, and sat down for a minute… and stayed for a while. Quite a while. What a sweet recording! The feel is small and intimate; you’re in a small club with a jazz trio—only you’re alone with them. Anthony Wilson commands his guitar with improvisational work that at the other end of things away from stale or hackneyed. Whether bluesy ("Britta’s Blues" or "Prelude To A Kiss"), funky ("Chitlins Con Carne"), or jazzy-rock (his exceptional cover of the Beatles’ "I Want You (She’s So Heavy)"), Wilson drew me into that world of head-nodding reverie. His compadres, Bagg (love that classic Hammond sound… I never get tired of it!) and Ferber are just right, and deliver accompaniment that’s spot on to round things out to perfect. The sound is pure DSD: transparent, effortless, deep, detailed, and utter relaxing. This is what recordings of this kind should sound like! Highest praise to everyone involved in producing this quiet masterpiece. Love jazz trios and great instrumentals? Then this album, my friend, is for you. It merits a Ye Olde Editor’s "Highest Recommendation." Sound = 10/10; Performance = 10/10; Music = 10/10

David Robinson[read full review]

Our Gang (2001)

Ellington, McCartney, Losesser, Bagg, Wilson, Burrell

Anthony Wilson

Cables: AudioQuest
Digital Converters: This album was recorded live direct to two track. Sony Direct Stream Digital™ System with custom engineered ADCs and DACs by Ed Meitner, EMM Labs.
Editing Software: Sony Sonoma DSD Workstation
Executive Producers: Sebastian Koh, Ying Tan
Mastering Engineer: Bernie Grundman, DSD Download Created by Dave Glasser, Airshow Mastering
Mastering Room: DSD 128 and DSD 256 Download Files Created by Tom Caulfield at the NativeDSD Mastering Lab, Marshfield, MA
Microphones: AKG C-12, C-12A and KM-S4, Neumann M-49, M-80 and U-67, Sony C55p, Sennheiser 441, 421
Notes:

We are pleased to announce the availability of Groove Note releases in DSD 128 and DSD 256, in addition to the original DSD 64 releases. These higher bit rate DSD 128 and DSD 256 releases are all pure DSD created. 

They are not up samplings, for there are no PCM or DXD conversions involved in their production. They are re-modulations of the original DSD 64 encoding modulation that produced the DSD 64 releases. The sonic advantage to these new Stereo and Multichannel DSD 128 and DSD 256 releases, as with all higher DSD bit rate releases, is the wider frequency passband prior to the onset of modulation noise.This results in the listener’s DAC using gentler and more phase linear filters for playback of the music.

Producer: Joe Harley
Recording Engineer: Michael C. Ross (Recording Engineer), Greg Burns (Assistant Engineer)
Recording Location: Cello Studios, Hollywood, CA December 7 & 8, 2000
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD 64

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GRV1008: Our Gang
00:58:58   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Our Gang
Wilson
00:08:39   N/A
2.
Chitlins Con Carne
Burrell
00:07:25   N/A
3.
Britas Blues
Wilson
00:07:25   N/A
4.
Time Flies
Wilson
00:07:48   N/A
5.
Roadtrip
Bagg
00:04:57   N/A
6.
Luck Be A Lady
Losesser
00:05:54   N/A
7.
I Want You
McCartney
00:09:46   N/A
8.
Prelude to A Kiss
Ellington
00:07:04   N/A

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