Tony Wilson 6tet
A Day’s Life (Drip Audio)
Tony Wilson began his musical studies in 1981, and he’s been active as a guitarist and bandleader in the Vancouver scene since 1987, but it hasn’t always, if ever, been easy.
Back in the mid ’90s, he found himself living on the street in the infamous Downtown Eastside, an experience that led to his fictional account of a day in the life of a crack-addicted busker, published in 2012 as a novella called A Day’s Life.
Obviously, this book, and the general plight of homelessness and drug addiction, inspired much of Wilson’s new album, for which he assembled arguably the greatest iteration of his long-running 6tet yet.
With JP Carter on trumpet, Jesse Zubot on violin, Peggy Lee on cello, Russell Sholberg on bass, and Skye Brooks on drums, the 6tet sounds inspired throughout this record. “The Morn’ in Blues” features Zubot’s violin abstraction screeching over a sweet Sholberg-and-Brooks groove, Carter on the fringes, a distortion creeping up at its climax. Woozy strings contrast the percussive madness of “Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be”, while an ephemeral affinity warms “Bobby Joe’s Theme”, with its brushed drums, wistful melodic interplay between guitar and violin, and uplifting trumpet.
“The Train Keeps Rollin’ ” is practically rock-jazz, with drums, cello, and guitar creating the upbeat rhythmic base on which stereo-panned trumpet and violin extrapolate melody and freestyle with abandon, contrasting the contemplative concluding track, “Good-Bye”.
Granted, there are no lyrics to cement the album’s theme, but the gravity of these performances should be palpable to those who don’t know its story.