Maybe it’s the crystal-clear keyboard sound Donald Wiles has on the Hammond B3 Organ and Baby Grand Piano, or maybe it’s the spread-wide approach he and Dennis Wiles takes to the accompaniment, or maybe it’s just all the compacted wisdom and joy written into the arrangement of “UoSOnSO”, but something about this jazz and blues single is magnificent and unforgettable. This is Donald Wiles at his best, uniquely funky with the most amazing keyboard solos and keyboards in general. Talk about feel. His feel is about unbelievable phrasing and choice of notes (we should not speak of speed, it’s a bad word, but he can fly too!).
This stylish track boasts a polished sound, horns and all, that skillfully blends Wiles’ richly-layered keyboards with the intricacies of a first-rate rhythm section that doesn’t get in the way of Wiles’ playing. Donald Wiles creates music that is heady yet soulful and sophisticated yet accessible.
Unlike many musicians surrounded by racks of keyboards, Wise focuses less on flash, pyrotechnics, and displays of virtuosity than colorful soundscapes that can mesmerize the listener. Wiles delivers that unique ability of his to induce auditory euphoria by crafting catchy, optimistic, organ or piano-driven tunes with an unmistakable easygoing style.
The record industry is in a state of flux, and the powers that once might have signed and pressured artists – even one as talented and respected as Donald Wiles – to stick to the beaten path don’t have the same level of power or attraction, which has given artists like Wiles the artistic autonomy to move in his own direction.
Donald uses that autonomy to create music that sounds like it could have been made in 70’s yet feels more cutting edge than nearly any other smooth or contemporary jazz cut out there.
“UoSOnSO” will definitely be a step up for those fed a steady diet of elevator music instrumental remakes of pseudo jazz classics that comprise too much of the contemporary jazz play lists these days. Thankfully, more and more of talented artists have decided to become more adventurous.
Maybe start their own record labels or production studios, or sign to serious independent labels and try and give us the real thing as it is supposed to be played. In this sense Donald Wiles knows his way around the business and around the keyboards, and has demonstrated a keen gift for concocting catchy melodies and smooth grooves, and above all doing things his way.
Back in the day, after attending The Columbia School of Broadcasting, Donald Wiles showed his skills by accompanying artists such as Albertina Walker, James Cleveland, Little Richard, and Vicki Winan on keyboards.
Today, Wiles shows no signs of pulling in the reigns, and is on the roster at the Wood ‘n’ Nickle Productions & Publishing Company, a Record Label operating in Chicago dedicated to producing ‘Music For The Mature Listener’. Here he has been releasing his ultimate musical gems, which now includes the single, “UoSOnSO”.