What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Marques Carroll – The Ancestors’ Call (self-produced)
Trumpeter Marques Carroll has a big sound, and he clearly knows his way around his horn. With the Trumpet Summit that held court at Andy’s prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and with the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective, he made is voice heard in two very cool ensembles. And now, with The Ancestors’ Call, he’s released an engaging and inspiring album that is fascinating from the first track to the last one. The Ancestors’ Call boasts a three horn front line, with Brent Griffin on saxophone and Alex Wasily on trombone, and the rhythm section of Amr Fahmy on keys, Christian Dillingham on bass, Greg Artry on drums, and Victor Garcia on congas. With a lineup like that, an excellent set of performances should be expected, and The Ancestors’ Call meets those expectations. “Generational Response” is tight and funky, “The Ancestors Call Upon Us” is as much a journey, with its ebbs and flows, as it is a song. This is the kind of album where nearly every song is a highlight.
Behn Gillece – Still Doing Our Thing (Posi-Tone)
Vibraphonist Behn Gillece has just released a rather interesting album, called Still Doing Our Thing. Gillece is joined by a solid rhythm section of Art Hirahara (keys), Boris Kozlov (bass) and Rudy Royston (drums). What makes this an interesting listen is two-fold: first off, it’s almost two different albums…the ballads, like the piano/vibes duet “Blue Sojourn,” have a warmth and beauty to them that would be perfect for dimly lit listen while drinking a glass of your favorite libation. Then, the uptempo songs have a completely different character. “Extraction” and “Rattles” both feature Percussive, knotty unison lines that sometimes swing and sometimes get into a funkier space, but they always have a very staccato quality to them that is intriguing, and a definite evolution from Gillece’s previous work. There’s a lot to like here, and there’s a lot that I’m assuming that you’ll be hearing on WDCB.
Spike Wilner Trio – Aliens and Wizards (Cellar Live/SmallsLive)
Spike Wilner might be better known as the owner of Smalls Live and Mezzrow in New York City these days, but make no mistake, he’s also a talented and freewheeling pianist with chops and imagination to spare. He recently teamed up with bassist Tyler Mitchell and drummer Anthony Pinciotti to record Aliens and Wizards. The album is a collection of standards (“Stella By Starlight,” “Blue Gardenia”) and originals from Wilner’s pen. Those originals range from straight ahead swingers with a deliciously loose feel, like “Non Troppo” to introspective pieces such as “Mindset” that evoke the music and feel of Lennie Tristano. If you’re looking forward to hearing a solid, modern piano trio during DCB Jazz, Aliens and Wizards is going to be a highlight in the next few weeks.