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Ballads for Trane (feat. Gianni Basso)

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Album Review

Joe Lee Wilson will not be a familiar name to a lot of jazz fans simply due to the fact that he made few recordings before long ago leaving his native America for life in Europe. But at the age of 68, the veteran singer was recommended to Philology owner for a concert appearance and Macerata, Italy, which prompted this studio date not long thereafter. Wilson's wealth of experience as a performer becomes obvious as he captures the emotional essence of each song without overdoing it, especially mastering the art of phrasing. He has respect for great material, restoring the often-omitted verse to two takes of "I Cover the Waterfront." The blending of Wilson's vocals with tenor saxophonist Gianni Basso invites comparisons to the onetime match of Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane, as the selections include 11 decades of old standards. He captures the subtle humor within "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" better than most vocalists. Wilson is bolstered by Amedeo Ronga's wonderful walking bass in an upbeat treatment of "Don't Blame Me." The CD, which is dedicated to Coltrane, obviously includes several standards recorded by the late saxophonist during his career. The influence is strongest in his vocal version of Coltrane's "Naima" (whose lyricist isn't credited) and the hard-driving "My Favorite Things," which is modeled in part on Coltrane's famous arrangement, except the release of the theme isn't saved for the very end of the performance, and Basso packs an additional punch by switching to bass clarinet (though the instrument is not listed in the credits). The rhythm section, led by the talented young pianist Riccardo Arrighini and also including drummer Stefano Bagnoli, provides a solid foundation throughout this very rewarding release.


Born: 22 December 1935 in Bristow, OK

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s

One of the '70s most striking jazz vocalists, Joe Lee Wilson blended a strong, stirring baritone voice and good delivery with a swinging style and savvy selection of material. The results made him quite popular for a few years, especially on college campuses in the Northeast. Wilson studied classical singing, and attended Los Angeles City College in the '50s, where he studied jazz. He toured the West Coast and Mexico as a jazz vocalist in the late '50s and moved to New York in 1962. Wilson worked...
Full bio
Ballads for Trane (feat. Gianni Basso), Joe Lee Wilson
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  • €9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Aug 2004

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