Vic Juris

Music of Alec Wilder

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AllMusic Review by

Alec Wilder is in the running for a dubious honor: most overlooked figure in 20th century music. There's a noble aspect, therefore, to this collection of Wilder's songs, all of which work quite well as vehicles for cutting-edge jazz improvisation. Guitarist and leader Vic Juris enlists Dave Liebman on tenor and soprano sax, Tim Hagans on trumpet, Steve LaSpina on bass, and Jeff Hirshfield on drums. The group faithfully renders Wilder's melodies before the blowing begins -- a musical consideration of utmost importance to Wilder himself, as Bill Dobbins explains in his informative liner notes. Liebman and Hagans are beautifully recorded, and Juris varies the ensemble configurations to feature them, and himself, in ever-changing contexts. Highlights include Hagans and Juris delicately interpreting "Moon and Sand," Liebman soaring through "Blackberry Winter" on soprano, and both hornmen sinking their teeth into "Winter of My Discontent" and "Where Is the One." Nowhere is Wilder's compositional breadth more apparent than in the contrast between the heady angularity of "That's My Girl" and the deep melancholy of "The Lady Sings the Blues."

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