Humidity is Wilson’s 5th recording on the Palmetto Label. Humidity marks a return for Wilson to The Matt Wilson Quartet, his most well-known quartet formation of two saxophones, bass and drums. The Matt Wilson Quartet (MWQ) is comprised of Andrew D’Angelo, alto saxophone & bass clarinet; Jeff Lederer; tenor & soprano saxophone & clarinet; and Yosuke Inoue, acoustic & electric bass.
Wilson started the Quartet in 1996 with the dream of forming a united, working band that could think and play in sync. And so they do as evidenced once again on Humidity.
Wilson composed all of the tunes on the recording except for three - one from D’Angelo, one from McHughes & Fields and one Tad Dameron number. His first tune marks his tribute to fellow drummer, Billy Higgins, and sets a driving pace for the rest of the disc. “Swimming in the Trees,” follows, a provocative and eclectic number inspired by Wilson’s daughter, Audrey, and which also features Wilson’s wife, Felicia (grabbing a moment away from their young triplets!) on violin, Larry Carlson on trumpet and Curtis Hasselbring on trombone. A slow horn intro begins the well-named “Cooperation,” leading into the fast rhythmic changes of “Free Willy,” D’Angelo’s contribution. “Wall Shadows,” another in Wilson’s ongoing ode to fellow hometown boy, poet Carl Sandburg, showcases Inoue’s astonishing bass work, while the Asian-influenced “Raga” puts the spotlight on Wilson’s expressive use of percussion to form the backdrop for D’Angelo’s hornwork (note daughter Audrey on handbells!).
The 2nd half of the disc begins with “Code Yellow,” a reference to the post September 11th state of being. The title track, “Humidity,” conjures a hot funk groove and adds back the violin, trumpet and trombone. Lederer’s contemplative arrangement of McHughes & Fields’ “Don’t Blame Me,” cools things off a bit, leading into the upbeat bebop of Dameron’s, “Our Delight.” Wilson’s final two compositions reflect the importance of his family. “All of My Children” refers to the chaotic delight of Wilson’s quartet of children – daughter Audrey and triplet sons Max, Henry and Ethan. “Beginnings of a Memory” harkens to the memory of his mother, to whom the recording is dedicated. Wilson’s wife Felicia joins him on this last tune.