Album Review of
One Night at Chris'

Written by Joe Ross
June 24, 2019 - 11:10pm EDT
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Bands occasionally have a terrible night or encounter the dreaded “gig from hell.” On the other hand, well-rehearsed groups also have exceptional nights when everything clicks. The Dave Wilson Quartet experienced the latter when they played Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia in March 2018. Emphasizing saxophone, the group’s fifth album captures the evening’s energy and excitement with four Wilson originals and six jazzy arrangements of pop rock classics. Between the opening and closing tracks of Wilson’s “Ocean Blues” and “Spiral” are engaging, tastefully-rendered interpretations of favorites like Jerry Garcia’s “Friend of the Devil,” McCartney and Lennon’s Norwegian Wood” and Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows.” Don’t expect anything like Grateful Dead, Beatles or Beach Boys versions, however. The quartet takes an adventurous journey through an 11-minute exploration of Gershwin’s “Summertime.” Wilson’s “Untitled Modal Tune” is bright, spirited, even frenetic at times, on its way to yielding bountiful rewards.  Tony Marino (bass) and Dan Monaghan (drums) lay down the solid rhythm, with a few solos. While the quartet really spotlights Dave Wilson’s sax, he and Kirk Reese (piano) trade lyrical improvised expressions, with colorful shading and distinctive twists, in this quartet’s very pleasant set of jazz.   (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)