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

September 18th, 2023

Ted Piltzecker – Vibes on a Breath (OA2 Records)

I’ll admit it, I didn’t have a Birth of the Cool styled group led by a vibes player on my bingo card for 2023. But, I’m impressed. Ted Piltzecker’s Vibes on a Breath is a Cool Jazz throwback and a nice slab of modern Jazz arranging at the same time. There’s an interesting mix of standards (“It Could Happen to You,” “Nature Boy,” “If I Only Had a Brain”), Jazz classics (“Stolen Moments,” “Subconscious Lee,” Seven Steps to Heaven”), a gem that only a vibraphonist would pick (Gary Burton’s “In Your Own Quiet Place”), and some nice originals, too. The arrangements are well thought out, and the intros on “Nature Boy” and “Seven Steps to Heaven” definitely go against common expectations. Vibes on a Breath has been a breath of fresh air, indeed.

Brandon Sanders – Compton’s Finest (Savant)

Drummer Brandon Sanders has put together an excellent group for his album Compton’s Finest. Joined by vibraphonist Warren Wolf, saxophonist Chris Lewis, pianist Keith Brown, bassist Eric Wheeler, and, on two tracks, vocalist Jazzmeia Horn, this band swings. Sanders covers a fair amount of ground over the course of the eight tracks here, from Ellington (“In a Sentimental Mood”) to Monk (“Monk’s Dream”) to Michael Jackson (“I Can’t Help It”), and the title track (written by Brandon) is among the shining moments on Compton’s Finest. Kenny Barron’s “Voyage” gets a burning treatment here, “Body and Soul” sounds lovely in the hands of this capable group, and the funky “SJB” wraps up the album in fine fashion.

Lezlie Harrison – Let Them Talk (Cellar Music)

Let Them Talk, the latest album from vocalist Lezlie Harrison, is a welcome addition to WDCB’s current rotation. Blessed with a warm voice and a great sense of phrasing, excellent choice in material and a solid backing band, there’s really a lot to like about this new CD. One time Chicagoan Ben Paterson is playing the B-3, Matt Chertoff does a wonderful job playing the guitar, and the always swinging Pete Zimmer is behind the drums. The standards here (“Close Your Eyes,” “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” and “Embraceable You,” for starters) are all executed quite nicely. “Fly Like a Eagle” is the standout here, though. I’ve seen it tried in Jazz arrangements before, and it was always left lacking. Not here, though. In Harrison’s (and Paterson’s) hands, it’s a soulful, grooving jam worthy of plenty of listens. I look forward to sharing this one with WDCB listeners soon!

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