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    Phillip Wilson Project

    Phillip Wilson - Phillip Wilson Project


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    All Music Guide Review

    This CD is a compilation of previously issued recordings from Frank Lowe (Inappropriate Choices) and Bill Laswell & Deadline (Down by Law) featuring drummer Phillip Wilson, who was murdered on the streets of New York City in 1992 at age 50. There are also three previously unreleased cuts with Wilson, trumpeter Lester Bowie, and bassist William Parker. The album is intended as a tribute to the original Art Ensemble drummer, but falls short in both time (42:16) and substance. The tracks featuring longtime running mate Bowie are well worth it, though. "Cool" is perfectly conceived, an easy, bluesy swing footnoted by Parker's soulful ostinato bass and Bowie's wah-wah trumpet. The nine-plus minute "Philadelphia" is much looser and wilder, and "Steel & Breath" has Bowie and Wilson going at it like they did in the '70s. Of the Frank Lowe songs, the gorgeous "Inappropriate Choices" features Lowe's tenor and Carlos Ward's flute in harmonious bliss, while Ward (alto), James Carter (baritone), and Michael Moore (alto) form call and response motion segments between drum breaks on "El Haz Malik Shabazz." On the Laswell cuts, Wilson's best percussionistic attributes are unfortunately buried by Laswell and electric bass guitarist Jonas Hellborg. Laswell cops fake electric guitar and bailophone sounds on "Baliphone Dub," while an aimless "Gammatron" goes nowhere. A better homage to Wilson should be on the horizon, but the Bowie-Parker-Wilson selections could mean there's more material in the can. That would be welcome. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

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