AllAboutJazz.com, June 25, 2019 — Saxophonist Steve Wilson has an extensive discography. In addition to his recordings as a leader, he has played with such jazz musicians as pianist Chick Corea, saxophonist Michael Brecker, bassist Dave Holland, big band arranger Gerald Wilson, and saxophonist Joe Henderson.
He spent the week as guest clinician at JazzArts Camp, working with young area jazz players.
For his shows at the JAZZ ROOM this past June, he had an all-star local ensemble. Double bassist Neal Caine had previously appeared in the concert series helming a Charles Mingus tribute; pianist Ernest Turner led a tribute to Thelonious Monk; trumpeter Mondre Moffett was making his first appearance in the series; drummer Ocie Davis is Artistic Director and Co-founder of JazzArts Charlotte (the nonprofit organization behind the jazz camp and this concert series), and has performance experience with many New Orleans jazz players (he relocated to Charlotte after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina).
A most enjoyable show, aided by the “jazz club” atmosphere of the Jazz Room (which is really a small theater, but is set up to feel like a club, including a bar at one side of the stage). Wilson’s pickup band definitely earned the “instant band” moniker. It is common under such circumstances to keep things simple, leaning on the head-solos-head bebop convention. But this group tackled original material with aplomb, including unusual structures and Wilson’s arrangements on the fly.