What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Dan Wilson – Things Eternal (Brother Mister)
Guitarist Dan Wilson isn’t a household name yet, but if he keeps putting out albums like Things Eternal, that will change. Wilson’s thoroughly a straight-ahead Jazz guitarist, but he’s got George Benson’s way with a groove down cold. The net result is that we get to hear a hard swinging record that just drips with grease. Joined by Glen Zaleski on keys, Brandon Rose on bass and David Throckmorton on drums, this quartet makes slick work of a diverse program that includes the most swinging version of “Eleanor Rigby” that I’ve ever heard, a poppin’ version of Herbie Hancock’s “Tell Me a Bedtime Story,” and a lovely rendition of Michael Brecker’s “Pilgrimage.” No matter the tempo or the style, Things Eternal is a moving album, and one well worth your time.
Tim Ray Trio – Fire & Rain (Whaling City Sound)
Tim Ray is a pianist that I appreciate a lot. He clearly pushes boundaries and takes chances. But, even in the midst of that pushing and chance taking, he remains completely approachable. Chicago ex-pat and drummer extraordinaire Mark Walker is on the record, as is the fine bassist, John Lockwood. “Stolen Moments” and “Theodore the Thumper” swing nicely, and a nearly 10-minute take on the James Taylor classic “Fire and Rain” is an epic eyebrow raiser. Fire and Rain is a charming album, and I have a feeling that all of us will be playing this one a lot.
Anthony E. Nelson, Jr. – Swinging Sunset (Music Stand)
Saxophonist Anthony E. Nelson, Jr pays tribute to the Jazz venues of his youth in New Jersey on his latest album. Kyle Kohler’s organ and the drums of Cecil Brooks III join the fray for a very nice disc called Swinging Sunset. If that name’s got you thinking Gene Ammons, you’re on the right track. Nelson’s clearly aiming for that brand of a big, lush tone, played over some well-arranged, tastefully grooving, smile inducing tunes with a pocket a mile wide. With that in mind, a song list that includes “Canadian Sunset,” Stanley Turrentine’s “Minor Chant,” or Johnny Griffin’s “Mildew” makes all of the sense in the world. If the liner notes didn’t specifically mention Newark and Trenton, I’d swear that this CD was inspired by a mythical night at McKie’s Disc Jockey Show Lounge. Whether you’ll be hearing this in your car, at home, or at some bar with exceedingly good taste in radio stations, Swinging Sunset sits right in the pocket and makes for a great listen.