The Captain Wilson Conspiracy: Used Rocketship Salesman

By the way, the band doesn’t know who Captain Wilson is, either.

New Albums
CD - Captain Wilson Conspiracy
“the subtle and intimate, to boundless and wild.”

The Captain Wilson Conspiracy’s first album is delightful. The Missoula jazz quartet, together for five years, comes from divergent musical backgrounds and tastes. They’ve all played with other groups, and regularly appear at Jazzoula and First Night venues. Finding each other in Montana was the glue that drew them together to write and perform original instrumental compositions.

Keaton Wilson, electric piano, Steve Kalling, upright bass, D.R. Halsell, guitar, and Ed Stalling, drums, have cooked up a stew that they say covers “the subtle and intimate, to boundless and wild.”

Bassist Kalling’s “I Don’t Know Yet” has him tiptoeing in on bent notes, oddly timed, before the band struts in with a unison riff. A tippety-tap of brushes on the snare, and we’re off to the races.

Halsell picks a bah-doodle-dah guitar riff on his jumper, “Issue 2”; it’s smart and elegant. “River at Heart (for Bolt)” features guest artist Amelia Thornton, whose smooth and silky viola, paired with impeccable guitar work, sets up a dreamy sequence with nuances of “Rainy Night in Georgia.” M-mmm, cooling!

Wilson’s “Erin’s Song” has a marvelous syncopated intro on which drummer Stalling shines. A scatter-shot beat on the snare and the hiss of light cymbal/bass interplay segues into a Latin rhythm on the Rhodes keyboard, which sounds like a vibraphone at times. It’s hip-shakin’ refinement on a nice melody. Way to cook, chefs!

Kalling’s title tune, inspired by Paula Wittner’s album art, has prettified dissonance with its flutter of repetitive piano joined by bass on a spacey riff. The group builds the music ominously; it’s definitely Outer Limits Time! And Wilson’s “We and They” throbs with energy as the dynamics grow, booping and bopping and beeping.

There’s lots of elastic jive here, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Jazz lovers, you best give this CD a spin. Heck, everyone should! By the way, the band doesn’t know who Captain Wilson is, either.


– Mariss McTucker