Will Vinson: Four Forty One


Vinson’s debut album for Whirlwind finds him recording with five contemporary piano masters. Or, as he puts it, the album gave him the opportunity to create five dream trios and be both bystander and participant at the same time.

With no rehearsals and minimal formal arrangements, the album is another testament to the uncanny ability that jazz musicians have to create magic through getting together and being in the moment.

From the bluesy, gospel opening on Boogaloo, with Sullivan Fortner, through to the spikey, probing take on Monk’s Work, with Fred Hersch, the range of styles offers a sense of contrast and cohesion, held together by Vinson’s skill and ability to mix and match as required.

There are some big-name artists at work here, offering engaging performances without feeling the need to be over-showy. Vinson clearly relishes the opportunity to work with some of his musical heroes, but is also clearly not overwhelmed by the occasion.

Underpinning the quality work by the five pianists, Larry Grenadier, Billy Hart and Eric Harland are three standout names to mention, all of them offering stellar performances on bass and drums.

Vinson describes himself as a “frustrated pianist”, and says that the instrument has captivated, inspired and eluded him his whole life. That sense of captivation and inspiration shines through on the enthusiasm he brings to this project.

(1) Boogaloo; Love Letters; (2) Banal Street; Oasis; (3) I Am James Bond; Cherry Time; (4) Work; KW; (5) The Way To You; (6) That Happened; (1) Milestones (74.50)
Vinson (as) with: (1) Sullivan Fortner (p); Matt Brewer (b); Obed Calvaire (d). New York, 16 September 2018. (2) Tigran Hamasyan (p); Matt Penman (b); Billy Hart (d). New York, 25 October 2018. (3) Gerald Clayton (p); Matt Brewer (b); Clarence Penn (d). New York, 15 October 2017. (4) Fred Hersch (p); Rick Rosato (b); Jochen Rueckert (d). New York, 15 October 2017. (5) Gonzalo Rubalcaba (p). New York, 31 January 2015. (6) Gonzalo Rubalcaba (p); Larry Grenadier (b); Eric Harland (d). New York, 3 April 2018.
Whirlwind Recordings 4752