Old Soul Sounds Before the Silence (self released, 2011) Paul Willson graduated from the VCU jazz program last spring and he hasn’t wasted a minute since then. Sounds Before the Silence is Old Soul’s first release and while it isn’t under Willson’s name, his vision is clear. Mixing the ubiquitous sound of Kurt Rosenwinkle, the […]
Sounds Before the Silence
(self released, 2011)
Paul Willson graduated from the VCU jazz program last spring and he hasn’t wasted a minute since then. Sounds Before the Silence is Old Soul’s first release and while it isn’t under Willson’s name, his vision is clear.
Mixing the ubiquitous sound of Kurt Rosenwinkle, the more rugged sound of Bill Frisell and a taste of Richmond, Paul Willson is developing a unique sound as both a guitarist and a composer. For all of his skills as a player, his compositions are his greatest strength. His interesting harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary add depth to his angular melodies. With eight of the ten tunes on the record coming from Willson’s pen, Sounds Before the Silence offers an excellent opportunity to explore the compositional range of his work.
“Changes in Perception” enables some of the members of Old Soul to stretch out over an interesting groove. A majority of the tune utilizes the odd time signature of seven-four. Unlike most seven-four, which divides into a group of four beats followed by a group three beats and feels like a beat is missing, the seven-four is divided into a group of three beats followed by a group of four beats and it feels like a beat is being added to a waltz. The unsung heroes of the tune are Willson and keyboardist Devonne Harris. While drummer Matt Coyle and bassist Evan Sarver repeat the groove under the soloists, the guitar and Fender Rhodes beautifully walk the tight rope of holding the groove together while creating interesting moments of accompaniment.
Listen to “Changes in Perception”:[audio:http://media.rvanews.com/04 Changes In Perception.mp3|titles=Changes in Perception|artists=Old Soul]
“Ghoul’s Tune” starts with tenor saxophonist Marcus Tenney and alto saxophonist David hood playing counterpoint unaccompanied. Before long the haunting vocals of Willson backed by female vocalist Lydia Ooghe and the rest of the band enter. Texturally, the saxophonists and vocalist capture the spirit of a tune that was written around Halloween 2010. Hood’s saxophone solo truly explores the limits of what has been heard on alto saxophone, and then he takes it a little further delivering a truly unique performance.
Just when the song is about to end, keyboardist Devonne Harris plays a minute long solo tag that only adds to the mystery of the tune that was just performed.
Listen to “Ghouls Tune”:[audio:http://media.rvanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/05-Ghouls-Tune.mp3|titles=Ghoul’s Tune|artists=Old Soul]
At only 23, Old Soul’s new album clearly shows that Willson is onto something special and it will be exciting to watch him pursue it. Buy Sounds Before the Silence, you won’t regret it.