If you happened to be walking by Pro Drum Shop on Vine Wednesday night, or maybe glanced in the percussion room at Guitar Center, chances are the skins had gone quiet throughout the city as the second night of guitarist Anthony Wilson's month-long residency at the Blue Whale kicked off with a special guest in drum titan Jim Keltner. Attention among the faithful -- even those who never sat down at the instrument -- must be paid.
Even if you don't think you're familiar with Keltner, you are. A first-call session drummer in a storied career, Keltner has recorded with George Harrison, Wings, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, the Ramones -- frankly, it's probably easier to list which music legend he hasn't recorded with at this point.
And while Keltner's track record leans toward rock, Wilson wasn't stepping outside his home genre with his choice. Keltner also contributed shape-shifting percussion to some of Bill Frisell's spacey folk-jazz recordings, as well as the jazzy twists of Steely Dan's "Aja." Plus, if there were any doubt in his abilities to slip into any genre, one drummer in the crowd answered the question succinctly: "It's Jim Keltner, man."
But it was also Anthony Wilson, who's enough of a master craftsman in his own right that there were probably no shortage of guitar lovers in the Blue Whale's packed, standing-room-only crowd as well. Wilson's "Campo Belo" was an arresting take on the music of Brazil, and the live guitar recording "Seasons" is maybe rivaled only by 1981's "Friday Night in San Francisco" by Paco DeLucia, Al DiMeola and John McLaughlin for six-string fireworks. And this doesn't even count his collaborations, which includes work with Diana Krall, Willie Nelson and, by the way, his father in bandleader Gerald Wilson.