What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Petra Van Nuis & Andy Brown – Lonely Girl: I Remember Julie (String Damper)
The husband and wife team of guitarist Andy Brown and vocalist Petra Van Nuis have recorded again, and this time the theme is the music of Julie London from her album Lonely Girl. With only a voice and a guitar, Petra’s & Andy’s Lonely Girl is a sparse record. But, these ballads and torch songs work so well in this environment that you hardly miss a bigger band. The whole album is nicely executed, but to these ears, “Baby Won’t You Please Come Home,” “You’ve Changed” and, of course, “Cry Me a River,” are all highlights.
Scott Hamilton – Classics (Stunt)
The idea of classical music recast as Jazz is not new. The Modern Jazz Quartet, Jacques Loussier and Hubert Laws have all made excellent albums in this vein. So, it would only make sense that a saxophonist that keeps such an eye and an ear to the past, like Scott Hamilton, would make an album showcasing the intersections between Jazz and classical music. That album is Classics, his latest for Stunt Records. If there is something curious here, though, it’s that Hamilton is more than happy to point out the Jazz standards that have their basis in various classical works, like “The Lamp is Low,” or “Yours Is My Heart Alone.” Add to that some rather interesting choices, (“Theme from Swan Lake” Chopin’s “Skymning”) and you are left with a curious album that is quite charming. While there’s nothing burning here, any fan of Scott Hamilton’s will have a lot to love.
Alex Sipiagin – Ascent to the Blues (Posi-Tone)
Trumpeter Alex Sipiagin has a new album out, and it’s called Ascent to the Blues. Joining Sipiagin is a cast of all-stars from the Posi-Tone roster: saxophonist Diego Rivera, Art Hirahara on the keys, Boris Kozlov playing the bass, and drummer Rudy Royston. Sipiagin’s taste in covers is pretty great with songs from Wayne Shorter and Woody Shaw, and his original writing is excellent these days, too. “Doppio” rides a fat groove, and “Hindsight” swings hard. Ascent to the Blues looks back to the Jazz Messengers and other assorted Blue Note and CTI groups from the 60’s and 70’s, but it’s smart enough to look forward to make some new sonic innovations, too.