MATT WIL­SON Christ­mas Tree-O (Palmetto)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

Drum­mer Matt Wil­son trips way out at the end of a Christmastree limb on his new al­bum, joined by reed­man Jeff Led­erer and bassist Paul Sikivie. The ac­tion starts with a slow ver­sion of “Win­ter Won­der­land,” re­plete with bluesy bass and funky tenor sax, and then Led­erer, on so­prano sax­o­phone, en­gages in some bright im­pro­vi­sa­tions on “The Chipmunk Song.” The trio bounces off Al­bert Ayler on “An­gels/An­gels We Have Heard on High,” Wil­son tin­kling jin­gle bells for Led­erer’s groovin’ sax­o­phonin’ — tenor again. There is a good deal of open space un­til 3:50 into the song, when they let loose with some per­cus­sion-driven fury, Led­erer blow­ing real free. Wil­son and Co. re­ally cut up “Christ­mas Time Is Here.” The old Vince Guaraldi song is tra­di­tion­ally of­fered as a lul­laby with schmaltzy cym­bals, but this ver­sion is wild and fine. Led­erer whips out the bass clar­inet for the fun “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and changes to so­prano for a steam­ing, way-out “Lit­tle Drum­mer Boy.” Wil­son has stand­out so­los here and on “Mele Ka­liki­maki.” The band of­fers a slow and stark telling of the Len­non/Ono song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and then goes mad on “Hal­lelu­jah Cho­rus” and “Lit­tle Drum­mer Boy.” The set ends with “We Wish You a Merry Christ­mas,” Led­erer fran­ti­cally whistling on pic­colo against hy­per­ki­netic drums and bass. It’s an avant-garde Xmas! — Paul Wei­de­man

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