Sunday, January 12, 2020

Todd Wilkinson: An Appreciation

Todd Wilkinson disappoints me daily.  I encounter Wilkinson’s retweets of liberal talking points every time I open my Twitter feed.  I’m not offended by Wilkinson’s politics, but I know that an extraordinarily interesting person is lurking behind his generic Twitter persona.

As the former proprietor of a live music venue and as an enterprising performer on Kansas City’s music scene for more than 35 years, Wilkinson is uniquely positioned to recount wild stories and share valuable artistic insights.  Three recent albums reveal Wilkinson’s musical range and excellent sense of humor.  The straight-ahead On Ice and the fusion-oriented On the Lam are filled with sprightly melodies and the sort of in-the-pocket playing that’s expected of in-demand Kansas City jazz musicians.

Yet it’s on Tusk that Wilkinson shines most brightly.  Playing every note under the amusing banner of the Conical Boar Saxophone Quintet, Wilkinson playfully evokes serious saxophone chamber groups such as the World Saxophone Quartet and the Prism Quartet on selections including “Two in the Bush”.  Wilkinson may be lousy on Twitter, but he’s absolutely brilliant on Tusk.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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