“Arts and Crafts” is Matt Wilson’s 4th CD on Palmetto Records and the birth of his “Arts and Crafts” group.
This CD features Terell Stafford on trumpet, Larry Goldings on piano and Dennis Irwin on bass.
“Previous efforts with the Matt Wilson Quartet and with Dewey Redman have gained Wilson a left-of-center reputation, but on Arts and Crafts the drummer confounds expectations altogether.” - David Adler, All Music Guide
For his fourth Palmetto CD, Matt Wilson sends his regular quartet on a brief vacation and recruits Terell Stafford on trumpet, Larry Goldings on piano (not organ), and Dennis Irwin on bass. Previous efforts with the Matt Wilson Quartet and with Dewey Redman have gained Wilson a left-of-center reputation, but on Arts and Crafts the drummer confounds expectations altogether. He begins with Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Stompin’ Grounds,” a no-frills ride through “Stompin’ at the Savoy” changes. Two tracks later, the band runs down Bud Powell’s “Webb City,” packing an enormous punch without exceeding four minutes. But just when it seems this might be a bebop record, the band puts a boogaloo spin on Ornette Coleman’s “Old Gospel” and throws yet more curves on Wilson’s three adventurous originals. “Lester,” written in honor of the late Lester Bowie, develops into a slow shuffle blues; “Final Answer,” a diatonic free bop theme, features Goldings challenging the ears with some bracingly “outside” playing; and the title track, a slow groove, again finds Goldings reaching in subtle but marked contrast to the superb bop playing he does elsewhere on the disc. (Indeed, Goldings’ presence is one of the album’s biggest draws, not least because his outings on acoustic piano are so rare.) Back in straight-ahead mode, the group offers George Gershwin’s “Love Walked In,” Hal Hopper’s “There’s No You,” and Nelson Cavaquinho’s bossa classic “Beija-Flor.” The disc wraps up with a soothing, simple arrangement of the folk melody “All Through the Night.” On balance, this could be considered Wilson’s most straight-ahead record yet, but it’s clearly not Wilson’s intention to fit neatly into any category. If anything, with Arts and Crafts he seems to insist, quite eloquently, that musicians need not declare allegiance to any of jazz’s warring camps. - David Adler, allmusic.com