Jason Wilson‘s music has been described as “reggae-impressionism”, “jazzy-reggae” or even “post-reggae”. While none of these quite cover it, Wilson’s art is, nevertheless, truly unique; it is a sound where reggae is freely brushed — not strictly detailed — allowing space on the canvass for wildly divergent inspirations to peek through. In essence, Wilson combines reggae with the improvisational sensibility of jazz and then layers it with the storytelling quality of the Scottish folk tradition.
Written in New York City over the course of 18 months, Perennials (Wheel Records, 2016) articulates this singular sound. Thematically, the artist captures Gotham as if seen through F. Scott Fitzgerald’s critical lens; the city is, for Wilson, that “once golden shimmering mirage”. In this way, Perennials is not a love letter; it is, instead, an expression of longing, a wish for a return to bucolic, “braes ablaze o’ green” Ontario where his beloved Gertrude awaits. JASON WILSON and THE PERENNIALS have been transcending to the delight of crowds across Canada, the UK and Jamaica:
Marcus Ali – saxophones/whistles/vocals
Patrice Barbanchon — trumpet/vocals
Perry Joseph — guitars/vocals
Andrew Stewart — bass
Zaynab Wilson — cajon/percussion/vocals
Jason Wilson — vocals/piano/organ/accordion
Dr. Jason Wilson is a two-time Juno-Awards nominee, Canadian Reggae Music Award winner and an acclaimed Canadian historian from Downsview, Ontario. He is the protégé of Studio One keyboardist Jackie Mittoo and has performed and recorded with, among others, UB40, Pee Wee Ellis, Alanis Morissette, Ernest Ranglin, Sly & Robbie, Dick Gaughan, Dave Swarbrick, Ron Sexsmith and Percy Sledge. Wilson’s music has won the favour of many. The Beat‘s Ted Boothroyd, for instance, confessed that Wilson’s work is “deeply satisfying reggae for aware, intelligent grown-ups.” Likewise, No Depression‘s Douglas Heselgrave believed that “the more I listen to Jason Wilson…the more I am convinced that he’s onto something that may just help broaden the spectrum of how people consider reggae music.”
Wilson is also an Adjunct-Professor at the University of Guelph and has five books to his name, including Soldiers of Song, a work on The Dumbells, Canada’s famous concert party of the First World War. He is currently co-authoring the official Toronto Maple Leafs centenary book (Fenn Publishing/Random House/TMLSE). Over the course of three decades, Wilson has developed an irresistible take on the Jamaican art-form that demonstrates both solemn reverence for its roots and routes, and passionate commitment to the re-imagining of its musical aesthetics. Jason Wilson is currently completing Perennials, the first volume of a three-volume set entitled The Valley Road Trilogy.
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