Dan Wilson: Vessels Of Wood And Earth

Joey Francesco and Christian McBride guitarist makes his debut album, championing the oft-unsung rhythm section


Guitarist Dan Wilson first emerged on the US jazz scene when Joey DeFrancesco, one of today’s most prominent jazz organists, invited him to join his trio. Dan then went on to tour with Christian McBride’s trio, Tip City, with McBride eventually producing this, Wilson’s debut album.

The title aims to provoke a thought about how underneath every vessel of gold and silver there lies wood and earth; that beneath every seemingly effortless piece of jazz, there lies its foundation: the accompaniment. The album is therefore dedicated to showing that a typical rhythm section, which is often relegated to the background, has the potential to shine and flourish at the forefront.

Well, it’s a band with rhythm players who aren’t inconspicuous on the scene – Christian Sands, Christian McBride and Jeff “Tain” Watts. The virtuosity demonstrated by all the musicians is immense, with Wilson and Sands particularly thriving on The Reconstruction Beat. It’s impressive that the musicians’ virtuosity doesn’t seem to hinder their integration and interplay, something the album strives for.

The album features 11 tracks, with a variety of different influences: there are originals composed by Wilson himself such as The Rhythm Section, Vessels Of Wood And Earth and Juneteenth, arranged standards such as James and Cry Me A River, pop tunes like Bird Of Beauty by Stevie Wonder, and finally a few gospel tunes. This vast variety does make for an exciting album.

Vessels Of Wood And Earth is a diverse and enjoyable album full of instrumental skill and integration, and does indeed reveal the capabilities of the rhythm section.

The Rhythm Section; Bird Of Beauty; The Reconstruction Beat; Vessels Of Wood And Earth; Who Shot John; After The Rain/Save The Children; Inner City Blues; Juneteenth; Cry Me A River; James; Born To Lose (66.00)
Wilson (g); Joy Brown (v); Christian Sands (p, syn, org); Marco Panascia, Christian McBride (b); Jeff “Tain” Watts (d). Unknown location, 23 April 2021.
Brother Mister/Mack Avenue BRO4001