"Consistent, Incisive Rhythmic Dexterity..."
Dr. Michael E. O'Neal, President of H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, has honored Steve Wilson by choosing the saxophonist's song Tortola" as the official song of his Presidency."
Tortola", from Wilson's Soulful Song CD (MaxJazz,) was written after his second trip to the island in 2002. Dr. Michael O'Neal, who was then Vice-President of H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, chose this tune as the Song of his Presidency" when he was installed as President this past June. Wilson's song is now performed at all official presidential functions, and Dr. O'Neal personally requested that Wilson perform it during his third concert on the island, earlier this month.
Here is how Steve Wilson's 'Tortola' was described at the Installation ceremony of Dr. Michael E. O'Neal as Third President, HLSCC:
From the first notes heard in the alluring melody line of the solo flute, we imagine Tortola - soft waves gently lapping on pristine beaches, graceful frigate birds soaring high above lush mountain peaks. One can almost hear the tiny Bananakeets as they dart in and out of fruit trees and even the sudden change of mood as an unexpected squall approaches across crystalline waters. Steve Wilson has captured it all in this hauntingly beautiful piece that is 'Tortola'."
Here are Introductory Remarks by President O'Neal, as given at Steve Wilson's 11/2/07 visit to H. Lavity Stoutt Community College: One of the several gratifications that I have gotten from my involvement in the presentation of the College's concert series over the years has been the opportunity to get to know and, indeed, to become friends with many of the world-class artists we have had the privilege of presenting. Preeminent among those artist-friends is tonight's performer, Steve Wilson.
Steve Wilson was one of the early jazz artists to have performed in our concert series and we are delighted to have him back with us on his third engagement. I had looked forward to introducing Steve Wilson myself and regret that a conflicting overseas commitment has prevented my doing so in person.
It is part of the tradition in academe that a signature musical piece that becomes associated with the President forms a part of presidential installation proceedings. Steve Wilson, on the occasion of his second performance in HLSCC's Jazz Showcase, was moved to compose the piece which he entitled Tortola", and I selected that composition as the President's signature piece.
Steve Wilson has won critical acclaim as one of the best reed players performing on the highly competitive New York jazz scene today. Performing always with a consistent, incisive rhythmic dexterity, Steve produces a warm, husky, inviting sound. As a composer, Steve's music has been described as cunning, light, and seductive on the outside, elaborate and alluring within."
Please join me, ladies and gentlemen, in welcoming--in return engagement - Mr. Steve Wilson."
Ben Ratliff of The New York Times has described Steve Wilson as among the best New York jazz has to offer," and Jim Macnie of The Village Voice has praised Wilson as a riveting improviser." As you look ahead to coverage assignments for late 2007 and all of 2008, please keep Steve Wilson in mind. He is an artist worth speaking with about the past, present and future of jazz music.
Back in 1996, The New York Times described Steve Wilson as perhaps the quintessential sideman: modest, flexible, congenial and much in demand." In the 11 years since, Steve Wilson has simultaneously embraced and eclipsed the moniker, finally reaching the point in his career where one title simply can't tell the full story. Yes, he's a saxophonist. Yes, he's a sought-after sideman. And, yes, he's a respected band leader, with two celebrated quartets. But there's more to Steve Wilson than meets the eye. He's also an educator, focused on the tradition of passing his knowledge on to up-and-coming musicians. And, he's a true jazz historian - well versed in the evolution of America's Art Form. In fact, it may be safe to say that Steve Wilson has developed into a sort of jazz 'Yoda' -- a true 'Jazz Master'.
Regardless of how you choose to describe him, Steve Wilson is a gracious and humble presence - one who pursues his music, and his varied roles, seriously and soulfully.
Critical acclaim has followed Wilson throughout his busy career. He is known for his versatility, and for saying more with less, attributes that have drawn many other artists to work with him over the past 20-plus years. With over 100 recordings to his credit, including seven as a band leader, Wilson continues to set the standard for the best of what jazz can be - uplifting, unpredictable, eloquent and passionate.
This story appears courtesy of Seth Cohen PR.
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