What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Being a percussionist myself, it's not every week I get to preview three drummer or percussionist led bands in the Music Lounge, so these were especially fun to write. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
3D Jazz Trio – 9 to 5 (self-produced)
Drummer Sherrie Maricle, known for leading the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, also leads some smaller combos, including the 3D Jazz Trio. Joined by Jackie Warren on the piano, and bassist Amy Shook, these three make their way through some familiar material, and some less obvious choices as well. Shook makes her presence felt throughout, playing melodies on the Jazz standard “I Only Have Eyes for You” and the Dolly Parton classic “9 to 5.” Chano Pozo’s legendary “Tin Tin Deo” gets a smart rearrangement that plays to this group’s strengths, and the Cuban standard “Lagrimas Negras” gets a treatment unlike any other that I’ve ever heard. And props to the 3D Jazz Trio for reaching for something a little extra throughout the nine tracks on 9 to 5.
Planet D Nonet – Blues to Be There: A Salute to Duke Ellington (Eastlawn)
Detroit’s Planet D Nonet, led by RJ Spangler, recently released an album consisting mostly of Duke Ellington’s compositions (there are a couple of Billy Strayhorn ringers in the mix, too), called Blues to Be There: A Salute to Duke Ellington. Spangler and Co. were smart to lean into some of Ellington’s lesser-known songs here. After all, when someone composed as much as Ellington did, there will be some amazing songs that don’t get the recognition that they deserve. A couple of my personal favorites made the cut in “Chinoiserie” and “Purple Gazelle,” but “Spaceman” and “Blow by Blow” swing really hard, and there’s no denying the beauty in “Almost Cried” or “Way Early Subtone.”
Steve Fidyk Live Wire Broad Band – Red Beats (Blue Canteen Music)
Drummer Steve Fidyk is back with a new album, leading a large ensemble he’s calling the Live Wire Broad Band. Their new album, Red Beats, is filled with some grooving arrangements, and a few excellent guest appearances by organist Brian Charette (“The Flip Flopper”), and trumpeter Walt Weiskopf (“Churn”). “Untimely” and “Gaffe” both show off modern big band writing with some demanding passages that really work in the hands of the capable musicians found on Red Beats.