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New Releases Spotlight: Week of September 28, 2015

September 29th, 2015

This week in The Music Lounge, music director Paul Abella reviews three new releases… one from a trio of heavyweights, and two from right here in Chicago!


Let’s start this week with Chicago based saxophonist John Wojciechowski and his new album Focus on Origin Records.  He teams up with a monster of a rhythm section, pianist Ryan Cohan, bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Dana Hall.  Wojciechowski’s a pretty aggressive player on the tenor, and from the get-go on this disc, it’s clear he’s not planning on taking any prisoners.  With such a sympathetic rhythm section, he tears through every nook and cranny of these songs, and it’s exciting to listen to.  The title track is an exhilarating tour de force.  "Divided Man" sounds at first like it’ll be a mellow, mid-tempo breezy kind of thing, until Wojcichowski and Hall start building a head of steam, and then…look out!  I hope you like it as much as I do!  And you’ll have a chance to check it out yourself when WDCB sponsors the CD Release Party on the weekend of October 30 & 31 at The Green Mill!


On the national scene, it’d be pretty hard to find three more high profile players than pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci or drummer Brian Blade.  Usually, when you see the three of these guys together, it’s as the rhythm section in the Wayne Shorter Quartet.  They’ve recently put out a disc under the moniker Perez/Patitucci/Blade called Children of the Light.  If you’ve heard these three as part of Shorter’s group, then there will be few surprises here.  This is an album full of exploratory moments, with songs that take their time to open up and find their grooves.  Of course, with Perez in charge, there’s more than the occasional hint of the Panamanian music that he knows so well, like on "Sunburn and Mosquito."  My favorite song on here is "Looking for Light," which hints at Stevie Wonder’s "My Cherie Amour" in a couple of spots, and Wayne Shorter’s "Witch Hunt" in a few others. 


Hans Luchs is a fantastic Chicago guitarist with a new disc out titled Time Never Pauses.  With his stellar band – Stu Mindeman on piano, Clark Sommers on bass, George Fludas on drums, and Shaun Johnson on trumpet – they work their way through a program of mostly Luchs’s originals.  "Hello Janssen" is the most exciting tune here, with a drum solo for the ages at the tail end.  "Der Lumenmeister" and "30 Rue des Martyrs" both grabbed my ear for having arrangements with some twists and turns to them.  I think you’re gonna dig this one!


Next week, meet me back here in The Music Lounge and we’ll check out more new music!  ‘Til then… keep your ears open!