Adam James Wilson

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An up-and-coming figure in American avant-garde jazz, Adam James Wilson started his young career as a composer before turning resolutely to performance. An advocate of microtonality, he plays a fretless…
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Unify
An up-and-coming figure in American avant-garde jazz, Adam James Wilson started his young career as a composer before turning resolutely to performance. An advocate of microtonality, he plays a fretless electric guitar, a seven-string electric violin, and a self-built replica of Harry Partch's Harmonic Canon I. Since 2000 he has been active on the northeastern U.S. free improv scene, mainly with ties to New York and Boston. His first album came out in 2002. Wilson was born in 1975. He studied composition and classical guitar at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio before beginning graduate studies at the University of Illinois, where he also touched upon computer music. The academic setting didn't quite fit him, but in Illinois he met flutist Arto Artinian, who became a close collaborator and friend. Leaving school, Wilson moved to Boston, where he hooked up with the avant-garde musicians of his generation, in particular pianist Jonathan Vincent and violinist Katt Hernandez. A friend introduced him to saxophonist Joe Maneri, which led to performances together and a mentor-pupil relation of sorts. Maneri's influence can be strongly felt in the free improvisations found on Unify, not only because of the use of microtonality, but also in the phrasing and the general demeanor of the group as a whole. Subsequently based in Brooklyn, Wilson self-released Unify in the summer of 2002, recorded with Artinian, Hernandez, Vincent, and drummer Aaron Trant. On-stage he has also performed with Jeff Arnal, Dan de Chellis, and Tatsuya Nakatani.