Jazz trio has family connections

ELKINS – Those attending Saturday evening’s Jenny Wilson Trio concert at the Randolph County Community Arts Center had a toe-tapping great time as the group performed their own tunes as well as jazz standards by Thelonious Monk and Vince Guaraldi.

The group is a family band, led by Jenny Wilson on piano and vocals, and includes husband Nathan Wilson on bass and son Evan Lintz on drums. Members hail from Morgantown and perform in venues throughout West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and beyond.

Kurt Barkley, executive director of the Randolph County Community Arts Center, said he was pleased to host the group.

“The Jenny Wilson Trio features great musicians,” Barkley said. “We are pleased to offer an event featuring their jazz sounds.”

Jenny Wilson said she was honored to perform in such a beautiful space. The group performed pieces written by her including “Zamba,” “Cheat River” and “Dark Mountain.”

“‘Zamba’ is a tune I penned in 1986 while living in St. Gallen, Switzerland,” Jenny Wilson said. “At the time, I was listening to a lot of Pat Metheney’s music and was heavily influenced by his group with keyboardist and pianist Lyle Mays. The style is Latin-flavored, yet distinctly jazz-based.”

Other original pieces included “Shelter II” and “Shelter I.”

“Both are gospel and hymn-like tunes that express a yearning to be closer to God,” Jenny Wilson said.

The group also performed a medley of holiday songs from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Vince Guaraldi.

“On Friday, the group visited North Elementary School for a program with the students,” Barkley said. “This involvement with the students in Randolph County Schools really sets the Randolph County Community Arts Center apart from other venues. It allows young folks the opportunity to experience music and artists that they may not normally have the chance to enjoy.”

Barkley said the students were very attentive and loved the program at the school.

“Jenny Wilson included an educational component to the program and offered a question and answer period,” Barkley said. “It combined learning with music appreciation.”

Jenny and Nathan Wilson are teachers and clinicians for the West Virginia Jazz Society and have been presenting music programs for youth throughout the state since 2004. Lintz is currently a junior at West Virginia University, and plays drums with jam band Fletcher’s Grove. He also performs with Squonk Opera.

“These events are going great and have been well-attended,” Barkley said.

Barkley said he is grateful for the community support for the Evening & Family Concert Series. Sponsors for the Jenny Wilson Trio event include First Energy Foundation, Davis Health Systems, Family Dental Practice, Graceland Inn and Conference Center, The Inter-Mountain, WDNE Radio/WV Radio Corp., West Virginia Culture and History/West Virginia Commission on the Arts and several anonymous donors.