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

October 16th, 2023

Richard Johnson, Geof Bradfield, John Tate & Samuel Jewell – Our Heroes (AFAR Music)

Pianist Richard Johnson, saxophonist Geof Bradfield, bassist John Tate and drummer Samuel Jewell have teamed up for a new album called Our Heroes. Recorded in one session back in July of 2021, these four fantastic musicians got together to play an all original album, with four songs coming from Johnson, three from Bradfield and two from Tate. “Corea,” is clearly an ode to our hero, Chick Corea, and the opening notes on the Fender Rhodes let us know it from the jump. “Caution” might very well be a tribute to Charlie Parker, since it feels just like a well-worn Be-Bop tune. “High and Low” makes great use of Bradfield’s bass clarinet and soprano saxophone, just like the name would imply. Our Heroes captures these four great Chicago musicians making some great Chicago Jazz, and I’m looking to share it with you!

Chris Hazelton – After Dark (Cellar Music)

Here at WDCB, we’ve all been big fans of Kansas City organist Chris Hazelton for a while now. So, Dan, Leslie and I were all excited when his latest disc, After Hours, arrived in the mail. While the group here is smaller than The Boogaloo 7, who he usually plays with, the playing is still greasy, gritty and funky. Joined by baritone saxophonist Brett Jackson, guitarist Jamie Anderson and drummer John Kizilarmut, this quartet (sometimes augmented by conguero Pat Conway) runs through a stack of Jazz classics like “Amsterdam After Dark,” “So Tired” and “The Groove Merchant.”

Joe Policastro Trio - Ceremony (JeruJazz)

The Joe Policastro Trio has remained a pretty constant unit over the past six or seven years, with Mikel Patrick Avery on drums, Dave Miller playing guitar and of course, Joe Policastro playing the bass. There have been theme albums (Screen Sounds), albums squarely centered on original material (Nothing Here Belongs), and now, Ceremony, which features a healthy mix of rearrangements of pop songs (New Order’s “Ceremony,” Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou”), Jazz classics (“Brilliant Corners” “Bala Com Bala”) and original material from Policastro and Miller. There are some downright delightful moments to be found here, like Policastro’s “Poioumena,” the aforementioned take on Monk’s “Brilliant Corners” and Miller’s “Mojave Lifeline.”  

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