Acoustic Sounds

Anthony Wilson

Hackensack West



Hackensack West—Anthony Wilson

Label: Cohearent Records

Produced By: Joe Harley

Engineered By: Kevin Gray

Mixed By: Kevin Gray

Mastered By: Kevin Gray

Lacquers Cut By: Kevin Gray

By: Michael Fremer

March 15th, 2024





Anthony Wilson Meets The D.K. Rhythm Section?

at Hackensack West

Yes, was a clickbait headline. Guitarist Anthony Wilson did not "meet" the rhythm section when last year they stepped into Kevin Gray's Cohearent Recording studio A/K/A "Hackensack West" to record this album live to two track tape, mixed "on the fly" as Rudy did. Wilson has been playing in Diana Krall's band for years with drummer Jeff Hamilton and bassist John Clayton, Jr..

Following this session, they were immediately back on the road with Krall. The only one playing here not a regular in her band for obvious reasons is multi-Grammy Award nominated pianist Gerald Clayton, but on this record he gets to play with his dad and how cool is that?

Wilson wrote a series of emotionally and structurally varied gems for this set and there's a cover of Todd Rundgren's "Marlene" well-known to fans of his classic 1972 double elpee Something/Anything? (original mastered by Lee Hulko at Sterling is the one to have).

In his annotation, Wilson writes that he sat down one day to write a single song that he could immediately "dive into" with his friends, but ended up with seven—writing and arranging all the parts one a day, five of which are included here.

With permission to share with you one here as a high resolution file it was difficult to make a choice. They are all winners. Side two opens with "The Lands," the most swinging, "Blue-Note"-y number, dedicated to saxophonist Harold Land who was a family friend and in whose band Anthony played some of his first professional gigs.

Side one opens with a moody, rain on the window, cloudy day "Daido" dedicated to Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, still working in his mid-80s. It's a somewhat unusual, low key album opener but following the first play through both sides you'll agree the track order was well designed to move between emotions.

"Verdesse" follows "Daido" on side one. Wilson describes it as having a "...sinuous, chorinho-like melody and rhythmic feel. The tune seems to weave a bob playfully in a space of brightness the way a grapevine seems to curl towards the sunlight." It is named after a grape varietal.

And here it is

It was transcribed from this Wilson-Benesch GMT turntable that will soon be reviewed in The Absolute Sound.

With all the musicians playing live in Gray's RVG-sized living room, no headphones, no barriers, the mic leakage is sweet! This one puts the musicians in your room more than it does you in the room with the musicians the way the old Hackensack recordings managed to do but KG has got a better handle on recording the piano.

Gray has Wilson in the left channel, the Claytons center stage, and drummer Hamilton in the right channel, but since the room is alive the sonic picture is natural, three-dimensional and full bore. You can tell these guys so much more enjoyed this studio experience than the usual isolation booth headphone thing.

When Clayton unleashes a piano solo midway in "The Lands" it sounds like a piano and later when Hamilton takes a hard-hitting drum solo you'll want to crank it up, not down, so your ears can luxuriate in the rich, "All valves from microphones to cutter head" skin sound and natural cymbal sparkle.

The miking was pure "What Me Worry?": Neumann U-47 on guitar/amp, Neumann M-49C on piano, Neumann SM2c on bass and Neumann M-49C on drums.

All-in-all a straight ahead set of swinging originals and one surprising ballad cover that's sure to please yours ears and brain and get your toes tapping and blood flowing. If you've ever wondered what you were thinking when you nearly put yourself in hoc to own a really great hi-fi rig, this record is guaranteed to provided the answer!

Music Specifications

Catalog No: CR-AV-2301

Pressing Plant: RTI


Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: original master tapes

Presentation: Single LP


  • 2024-03-15 11:09:16 PM

    Zaphod wrote:

    Great Music but I do not get the “Drift King” reference!?! That is what D.K. stands for, right? No, Donkey Kong then!

  • 2024-03-16 12:06:12 AM

    Eric Lubow wrote:

    DK is Diane Krall.

    • 2024-03-16 12:18:20 AM

      Zaphod wrote:

      I actually knew that, I was just having a little fun. Hope I did not offend anyone.

      By the by, the Turntable is Awesome and that tonearm is a work of art. I am surprised that I like it because I typical abhor black rectangular boxes that some call audio gear. I think it must be all the metal work that gussies up the black rectangle.

      • 2024-03-16 02:56:54 AM

        Michael Fremer wrote:

        I got your humor…

  • 2024-03-16 12:55:49 AM

    Come on wrote:

    I’m really keen on this next record of Kevin Gray, will check out the file tomorrow! That he chose to use the left/middle/right kind of soundstage of the vintage recordings for his releases is maybe not the best that could have been achieved, but an enjoyable kind of retro style, matching the rest. Given the ERC type of pricing model, he just would have to charge 800$ for a record.

  • 2024-03-16 10:42:10 AM

    Gary Saluti wrote:

    That turntable is totally steampunk.

    • 2024-03-16 11:11:51 AM

      Come on wrote:

      Yes, too much bling for my taste on table and arm. But most of the extremely expensive stuff has to sell well in China, so…

      • 2024-03-16 11:12:27 PM

        Michael Fremer wrote:

        All has a serious purpose. It just looks like "bling"!

        • 2024-03-17 12:01:13 AM

          Come on wrote:

          Yes, I’m sure. Wilson Benesch is a serious brand and I didn’t suspect them to just design something for a show effect. It’s just the visual realization, which is a bit too flashy and playful for my personal taste.

  • 2024-03-16 06:50:06 PM

    Come on wrote:

    I now listened to the track and it’s beautiful, guitar left and drums (3D in width and depth) to the right are placed well detached and behind the speakers, bass and piano in the middle further back, nice soundstage and yes…piano in much better quality than an RVG piano. Very very natural, vibrant sound and as soon as the record arrives it will get even better…11/11 confirmed, keep ‘em coming, Kevin, the quality of your releases (music and sound) will be remembered now and later!!

    And thanks to Michael for the provided file!

  • 2024-03-19 01:50:37 PM

    miguelito wrote:

    What cartridge is used in the capture? Thx.

    • 2024-03-23 03:47:01 AM

      Michael Fremer wrote:


  • 2024-03-20 08:19:39 PM

    JackG wrote:

    File sounds great. No White Manna in the West version, though.

  • 2024-03-22 01:17:06 PM

    Tom Demaline wrote:

    Yes ! I have previewed this and it’s on my list to get. Not a big fan of Jazz guitar but this record changed my mind. Great interview with Anthony, Kevin and Joe on YouTube.