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Wednesday, Jul 21 1999
Anthony Wilson
The term "promising young talent" is bandied about a bit too liberally in the jazz world these days -- perhaps that's indicative of the industry's desperate search for someone to inherit the mantle of Miles, Monk, Mingus, and company. But 31-year-old guitarist and bandleader Anthony Wilson is one relatively new musician who merits the term. He isn't necessarily a standout for his playing alone: Though he's no slouch, sprinkling wonderful, blues-infused melodies all over his solos, it would be a stretch to say he stands above a frighteningly talented jazz guitar pack that today includes everyone from Mark Whitfield to Kevin Eubanks to Jimmy Bruno. But Wilson has more than his guitar playing up his sleeve.

His first two albums -- his eponymous 1997 debut and last year's follow-up Goat Hill Junket -- were marvels of large-ensemble playing and orchestration, with his debut album even winning a Grammy nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance. On Goat Hill Junket, Wilson's arrangements of his original tunes and classic songs like "Stairway to the Stars" and "Here's That Rainy Day" struck an uncanny balance between sophisticated modern voicings and a classic, swinging sound that was deeply rooted in blues sensibilities. It could be in the genes: Wilson is the son of famed big band leader and arranger Gerald Wilson, and no doubt soaked up a few of Dad's tricks growing up (and maybe while appearing on the elder Wilson's 1997 "Theme for Monterey" as well). But Anthony Wilson has a style all his own, one that wrings an uncommonly large and full-bodied sound out of his working group of nine players. His CD Adult Themes is set for release in September on MAMA Records; look for Wilson to perform cuts from that upcoming release, as well as ones from his two previous offerings, at this one-night-only appearance featuring Joe Bragg on Hammond B-3 organ and Mark Ferber on drums.

-- Ezra Gale

The Anthony Wilson Organ Trio performs Tuesday, July 27, at 8 and 10 p.m. at Yoshi's, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. Tickets are $15; call (510) 238-9200.

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Ezra Gale


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