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

August 21st, 2023

John Wojciechowski – The Swing of the Pendulum (AFAR Music)

Chicago saxophonist John Wojciechowski has just released a new album called The Swing of the Pendulum. Featuring fellow Chicagoans Xavier Davis on piano, Clark Sommers on bass and Dana Hall on the drums, this is an album of Chicago all-stars, and it shows. The compositions are interesting, and the playing is exciting. From the first notes of “The Leaves Fall to the Ground” it is clear that the listener is going to be in for quite the journey. “Past Reflections” is a gorgeous ballad written by Sommers that features Wojciechowski’s flute, Hall’s mallets, and some pretty playing by Davis. “The Greater the Distance” has the feel of a classic mid-60’s Wayne Shorter song, revealing layer after layer as the song goes on. Wojciechowski has clearly recorded a winner of an album with The Swing of the Pendulum, and I am sure you’ll see it on a few year-end best of lists come December.

Doug Beavers – Luna (Circle 9 Music)

Trombonist Doug Beavers seems most at home in the Latin Jazz/Salsa arena, and he finds himself there once again on his latest album, Luna. Luna is named after the suite that takes up the first six selections on the album. “Tidal” is both grooving Latin Jazz with excellent solos and a piece of excellent, modern big band writing at the same time. “Reflejo del Sol” feels and sounds as if it was touched not only by Latin Jazz, but also by the R&B of Earth, Wind and Fire or Stevie Wonder. “Flor de Lis” features fellow trombonist Conrad Herwig on a slow but driving samba that it’s nearly impossible to not move to. You’ll surely hear this one during the Latin Bit, and throughout the day on DCB Jazz!

Pete McCann – Without Question (self-released)

Pete McCann is an interesting guitarist with a new album out. Without Question puts McCann together with an empathetic band that plays his compositions well. Of course, that’s bound to happen when you’ve got a band with Steve Wilson on saxophones, Henry Hey on keys, Matt Pavolka on bass and Mark Ferber on drums. Throughout the course of these 10 tracks, we’re given an eclectic mix of songs, with ballads, hard hitting swingers and playful songs mingling next to each other on an enjoyable disc. “I Can Remember,” “Lost City” and “January” are lovely ballads, while “Lovely Thing” and “Hindsight” give the band a chance to stretch their legs a little and run.

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