What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Jim Alfredson – Family Business (Posi-Tone)
Usually, when we hear Jim Alfredson’s name, it’s attached to Organissimo, the fantastic organ trio from Michigan that joined us for the WDCB Summer Music Series at the MAC at College of DuPage in 2016. He’s done solo projects before, notably a tribute to Big John Patton. On Family Business, Alfredson leads an all-star sextet with Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, Diego Rivera on tenor, Michael Dease on trombone, Will Bernard on guitar, and EJ Strickland behind the drums. Alfredson sets the bar pretty high for himself from the git-go with an excellent take on Dr. Lonnie Smith’s “Peepin’.” Outside of Michael Dease’s “For Miles” which showcases everyone’s ability to play on some Don Patterson styled Be-Bop, the rest of the program is dedicated to Alfredson’s writing and arranging. I appreciate how much ground Alfredson covers in his own writing in a scant seven tracks. From the greasy “Foster Blues,” to the funky as can be “The Side Eye,” to the breezy swing of “REO Town,” a listen to Family Business ends up taking you on quite a journey.
T.K. Blue – The Tide of Love (Arkadia)
Saxophonist T.K. Blue seeks out the sound of romance on his latest, The Tide of Love. With a setlist that ranges from standards to an R&B gem by Brian McKnight, songs from two of Brazil’s great songwriters, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sergio Mendes, and a few originals to boot, he covers a lot of ground and makes some lovely music in the process. Of course, lovely music is a lot easier to make when you’ve got Stefon Harris on vibes, James Weidman playing piano, Ron Jackson on the guitar, Gavin Fallow on bass and Lenny Robinson on drums. Weidman and Blue play a gorgeous duet on the “The Peacocks,” and T.K.’s three originals stand up as highlights of the album. All in all, this album of ballads is a nice change of pace, and I look forward to sharing it with you.
Jeb Patton – Preludes (Cellar Music)
Jeb Patton’s latest album for Cellar Music looks like it might be a classical CD. The names of the songs, eight preludes in (insert key name here) and Duke Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” certainly seem like the kind of thing that a classical pianist might put out into the world. Driving home the point further, many of these songs feel like those great Jacques Loussier Plays Bach albums of the 1960’s, sounding exactly like Bud Powell’s quote about how Bach played Be-Bop, it just took Bird to make him swing. Making this album of preludes swing is Jeb Patton writing the tunes and playing the piano, Mike Rodriguez on trumpet, John Ellis on all of the woodwinds, David Wong on the bass and Quincy Davis at the drums. With one exception, all of these preludes are bright, unabashed swingers, and even Ellington’s “Prelude to a Kiss” has a drive to it that you rarely hear. This is kind of a hard album to write about, but it sure is a lot of fun to listen to.