Riffin’: CapitalBop Listening Sessions at the Atlas, CapitalBop’s series of fun, ear-opening artist conversations, continues tomorrow with the world-renowned drummer Matt Wilson. He’s not just one of the most in-demand drummers in the game — playing with Herbie Hancock, Joe Lovano, John Scofield and so many others — he’s also a beloved jazz educator, and one of the funniest dudes in music. So talking to him about his ideas and his influences is guaranteed to turn up insights and draw laughs.
One memory that sticks out for us at CapitalBop: At the 2011 Undead Music Festival, we heard him perform a solo set at a skate park in a dreary neighborhood in Brooklyn. The sound was soft, and humid, and deep — the entire set moved from simple, swaying beats to complicated patterns that whipped your brain like heavy cream. Then, at the end, he locked into a simple four-beat pattern and started singing something. It slowly registered, and everyone cracked up — then started singing along. Before you knew it, he’d gotten a whole room of jazz freaks to belt Mariah Carey’s “I’ll Be There.” Only when you hang with Matt Wilson, folks.
At the Riffin’ session on Thursday, we’ll be watching three classic videos of musicians who have influenced Wilson. After each one, we’ll ask you — the audience — to give us some reactions to what you’ve just seen, and ask Matt a question or two. Each of the first two sessions in the series have been fascinating and exciting. This one is sure to be no different. So arrive by 7, hang out at the session with Matt and us CapitalBop folks, and then stay for his performance at 8 p.m., which will feature his unconventional holiday post-bop band, Christmas Tree-O (no kidding…okay, a lot of kidding…but this is a real thing, and the band’s skill is powerful). The group will be joined by trumpet great Terell Stafford, a special guest.
Schedule of the remaining Riffin’ sessions:
- December 19, 2013: Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O
- January 16, 2013: Anthony Pirog Trio
- February 1, 2014: Don Byron Gospel Quintet
- March 19, 2014: Washington Women in Jazz All-Stars w/special guest (TBA)
- April: No concerts
- May 10, 2014: Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Wednesday’s Riffin’ session with Matt Wilson at the Atlas Performing Arts Center begins at 7 p.m., and entry is free. Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O performs at 8 p.m. Tickets to the concert cost $28.50 in advance, or $33.50 at the door, and can be purchased here. More information is available here.