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What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella

February 21st, 2022

Brev Sullivan & The Blue Road Session Band – Ira: The Tribute Album (Blue Road)

We might claim Ira Sullivan as a Chicagoan, but he’d been part of the Miami scene for a long, long time. And when he passed away in 2020, he left behind a scene of folks who had been nurtured by him for some time. Those players included his son and guitarist Brev Sullivan, who spearheaded the album Ira: The Tribute Album. Featuring four of Ira’s compositions on a program filled with some of his favorite songs to play, this is an interesting album with Brazilian rhythms, esoteric jams and less Be-Bop than you might expect. But it’s a pretty cool album and I think you’ll dig it, too.

Ethan Iverson – Every Note Is True (Blue Note)

Pianist Ethan Iverson has worn numerous hats since he’s made his was onto the Jazz scene some 20 years ago. With The Bad Plus, he was a bombastic iconoclast, a free jazz provocateur and a kitschy lounge pianist at the same time. Above all, he was a perfect foil for drummer Dave King. There were stints with Albert “Tootie” Heath and Tom Harrell that showed off different facets of his keyboarding facilities. On his latest album, Every Note is True, Iverson is paired with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jack DeJohnette. With such a top-flight bass/drum tandem to help bring his compositions to life, these songs really swing quite nicely. Every Note is True is filled with nice surprises throughout.

Bill O’Connell – A Change is Gonna Come (Savant)

Bill O’Connell (the pianist) is a pretty reliably incredible musician with a predilection toward putting out excellent Afro-Cuban Jazz albums. And that’s why A Change Is Gonna Come is such a fascinating album. Over the course of 10 tracks, O’Connell covers funk, R&B, sambas, bossa novas, calypsos, and swings pretty hard, but it’s only until we get to near the end of the album (the 9th track out of 10) that we hear anything that sounds remotely like “Latin Jazz.” And that track, “Chaos” is worth the wait, I must say. Now, the crew needed to pull off such a diverse album and make the whole thing work had better be world class, and this band is world class, with Craig Handy on the woodwinds, Lincoln Goines on bass, Steve Jordan on drums, Pedrito Martinez on percussion, and of course, O’Connell on piano, this band does NOT mess around. 


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