Gerald Wilson Orchestra – Legacy (CD)

Jazz sits at the juncture between classical and current. Gerald Wilson explores this break by simultaneously working at these two poles. What results is a truly fitting experiment on eirself; listeners will get whom Gerald Wilson is and what influences eir quite nicely. At 92, there is no loss in eir step or sharpness – each of the twelve tracks on “Legacy” are impressive collages of musical interactions that will not simply fade from memory. Perhaps most interesting during “Legacy” has to be the fifteen minute plus “Yes Chicago Is…”, a musical tribute that does a tremendous job in making a musical blueprint for the city.

I’ve only been to Chicago a few times, and I feel that I could hear some of the city’s most noticeable locations. This trend is continued with “Cubs, Bears, Bulls and White Sox”, a musical tribute to the city’s numerous sports teams.

In regard to the classical side of things, there are a number of tracks on “Legacy” that show Wilson’s ability to cover eir favorites and come forth with unique interpretations of these standards. Two variations – on “Claire De Lune” and Giacomo Puccini’s Theme, represent a fourteen-minute break from the intense personal focus first shown by “Virgo”. At some point, however, there is not a track on “Legacy” that does not provide listeners with some information about Wilson, eir life, and eir career.

Each line, each note contains a hint to whom Wilson is, and the interaction that ey has with the rest of the orchestra further contextualizes it. I was not too familiar with Wilson’s work before receiving “Legacy”, but I want to see where ey came from and how Wilson has evolved over the length of eir career.

Top Tracks: Cubs, Bears, Bulls and White Sox, Variation on Claire De Lune

Rating: 8.5/10

Gerald Wilson Orchestra – Legacy (CD) / 2011 Mack Avenue / 12 Tracks /

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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