Anthony Wilson, Guitar Pinup, Begins Monthlong Residency at the Blue Whale Tomorrow

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Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 4:00 AM
click to enlarge IAN GITTLER
  • Ian Gittler

Guitarist and L.A. native Anthony Wilson has been a part of the jazz scene since his birth. His 93-year-old father, bandleader/raconteur/legend Gerald Wilson, started swinging before World War II and hasn't stopped, but the younger Wilson grew up in a musical landscape as indebted to Peter Frampton as Lionel Hampton. So it should come as no surprise that every Wednesday in April, Wilson will be leading four disparate bands at the Blue Whale, ranging in influence from Tin Pan Alley to the Traveling Wilburys.

"Something in the discourse of our music creates all these different camps," says Wilson, digging into lunch at downtown's Daily Dose. "I don't really like that. One thing that bothers me in jazz, or whatever we want to call it, is that some people think certain styles are nostalgia. But nothing is more forward- or backward-looking than the other. It's all happening now."

Over the course of his four shows Wilson aims to not only display his breadth of influence but also kick to the side the expectations of a modern jazz artist. Thus he has enlisted a different group for each night, including straight-ahead masters John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton, rock icon Jim Keltner, a horn-laden nonet and a guitar quartet.

In 2011, aside from contributing to his father's Grammy-nominated big-band release, Legacy, Wilson self-released two albums of his own -- Campo Belo, an album of originals recorded in São Paulo, and Seasons, a suite he wrote for a guitar exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

"[Luthier] John Monteleone was one of the featured craftsmen in the exhibit. I was driving him around one day and he asked me if I wanted to write something for these guitars he was making. He made four guitars in his shop in Long Island and I would go out there, play and get the feel for them. I kept putting it off until finally I just had to write it."

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