Track by track vibes from the Stella Rose by D.S. Wilson.
- “Emma’s Visit” is a smooth song that features a band that reminds me of Steely Dan without the vocalists. The soft soothing saxophone playing more than makes up for the lack of vocals. The players are all in time and in the pocket creating some vibes that I associate with class and fine dining. This album is starting off like it’d be good for a cocktail party.
- “Seattle Rain” is a bit more jumpy in the way it starts of. The percussionist is keeping it a bit more busy while the mood has switched to a key with more sharps which is a more sensual and soothing direction to take the record. The saxophone performance is still stellar, it doesn’t overplay, it sings lines you can grab onto ever if you were a listener who wasn’t versed in jazz performance. Given the more busy nature of the percussion on this I’d say the vibe kind of shifted from Steely Dan to something more Dave Matthews Band. All still D.S. Wilsons style who is a very accomplished musician having received scholarship to the illustrious Berklee College of Music. Midway through “Seattle Rain” is a more tense section where the band choreographs hits that take the listener out of the original key. “Seattle Rain” ends with an uplifting progression before returning to the original melodic motif which is a nice lead in to “Afterglow”
- “Afterglow” is darker and more moody, I’m not totally sure how we got here but I think I’m walking the streets of Manhattan in the fall after midnight with a lady on one arm and a cup of coffee in the other hand. “Afterglow” is a leisurely pace that doesn’t necessarily have anywhere to go but isn’t ready for the night to be over. A song that is easy to get lost in off Stella Rose is “Afterglow”
- “By the Pool” is mimosas the morning after your night out last night. It is Saturday and your Friday was already plenty of relaxation and blowing off steam but you’re not quite to Sundays do nothing mindset yet. Around 2:30 their is a nifty little electric piano solo that is very tasteful.
- “Daydream” is named very appropriately. It is also leisurely paced like like “Afterglow” but the use of modes and a flat key signature within the composition gives it more of a day time feel. Not sure where you are at during this time of your weekend, you could still be by the pool or you could be back in your apartment relaxing doing a hobby you enjoy. “Daydream” is a sunny day sounding song that will put your mind at ease.
- “She’s Crazy” the drums are bumping, the bass is a funky groove, the guitar panned far right is percussive in a funky way, and the piano is filling out the arrangement. The bass gets a nice feature in this one around the 2:45 minute mark where it wanders around chord tensions and roots doing some funky rhythmic moves. I’m not entirely why this one is named what it is but if anyone has some light to shine on this curiosity leave a comment below! EDIT** the song was written for a narcissistic ex when it was written and performed by a rock band D.S. Wilson was in with lyrics.
- “Siesta Rosedalia” featuring Spanish influence while also remaining a D.S. Wilson tune. The arrangement features a conversation between electric piano and a Spanish styled guitar. This time the saxophone takes a slight break and waits until the halfway point to come in.
- “Under the Wire” is when the urgency starts to set in and things start heating back up for your weekend. “Under the Wire” is a song made for dancing the night away. It contains booth smooth and soothing sections while also featuring busy sections that will strike a nerve inside the listener that makes them want to move around.
An organ solo that sounds like it could be used in a classic rock tune is featured later in “Under the Wire” which gives it a music festival sound.
- “Native Daughters” is artistically different then the rest. It features a strange vocal take midway through that is psychedelic while the band plays a jazz rock fusion style. The groove is a heavy half time. Overall I think “Native Daughters” has been the farthest depature from the D.S. Wilson Stella Rose style.
- “Swing Your Baby” is a fun upbeat swing tune that reminds me of music you’d hear in the opening credits of a fun Pixar movie or maybe even the Star Wars cantina song. Groovy and fun this song has lots of back and forth between a well fleshed wind instrument arrangement. The drums are groovy and chaotic and you’re swing dancing the night away, their is a hustle and bustle about “Swing Your Baby” that reminds me of city life the way words can’t describe.
Check out the record below, let me know in a comment if you think this is track by track review is on target. Stream Stella Rose by D.S. Wilson below and learn a little bit more about him in a brief biography attached below.
More on D.S. WILSON:
Currently based out of the Seattle area, D.S. Wilson is an accomplished and well-rounded jazz musician who brings a wide range of experience and styles to his music, from rock. pop, and blues, to folk, contemporary Christian, and jazz.
D.S. began playing piano and saxophone at an early age and quickly became proficient, earning a scholarship to Berklee School of Music in Boston.
D.S. played in North Carolina-based rock bands from the mid-80’s through 2001, winning the North Carolina Battle of the Bands in 1983. In the late 90’s, D.S. was a key member of the band Dolo, which released the acclaimed album “Dolo” produced by Grammy-nominated producer John Custer.
After Dolo, D.S. Wilson embarked on a solo career, completing his first album entitled “Save Me” (which was not released) and most recently completing and releasing a jazz album entitled “Stella Rose” under his music label Big Splash Music.
Although D.S. Wilson focuses primarily on saxophone, piano and keyboards, he is a versatile and talented composer, performer, recording artist and producer.