What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Stacey Kent – Summer Me, Winter Me (Token)
Vocalist Stacey Kent’s latest album, Summer Me, Winter Me, might be one of her most varied yet. Joined, as always, by her husband, multi-instrumentalist Jim Tomlinson, Summer Me, Winter Me features some lovely bossa novas, like Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Corcovado” or the lovely arrangement of the Rogers & Hammerstein standard, “Happy Talk,” the string-laden ballad “If You Go Away,” and the lightly swung takes on “Under Paris Skies,” and “Show Me.” On most of the album, Kent and Tomlinson are joined by the rhythm section of Art Hirahara, Tom Hubbard and Anthony Pinciotti on the piano, bass and drums. People who are familiar with Kent’s work will have much to love on Summer Me, Winter Me, and newcomers will be charmed by these gorgeous renditions of some classic songs.
Ray Gallon – Grand Company (Cellar Music)
Ray Gallon wasn’t lying when he named his new album Grand Company. The pianist is joined by bassist extraordinaire Ron Carter and living legend Lewis Nash behind the drums. Together, the three of them romp through classics from Duke Ellington (“Drop Me Off In Harlem”) and Miles Davis (“Nardis”), standards (“Old Folks,” “If I Had You”) and a bunch of Gallon’s originals. These three swing exactly as hard as you think they will, and when they build up a head of steam, watch out. This is a fun disc.
John Scofield – Uncle John’s Band (ECM)
If you’ve followed John Scofield’s career in the past couple of decades, you might be disappointed that his latest, Uncle John’s Band, only contains one Grateful Dead song (the title track, “Uncle John’s Band"). He’s played with Phil Lesh, has arranged a few Dead tunes for live projects, and they’ve all sounded great. However, you probably won’t be disappointed for too long. Uncle John’s Band is a two disc set featuring the guitarist along with bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Bill Stewart. These three run through a bunch of Scofield’s new originals – “The Girlfriend Chord,” “TV Band,” “Back in Time” and “Mo Green” – are all excellent, as are the renditions of other folks’ stuff, whether they be standards, like “Stairway to the Stars” or “Budo” or fare from the realm of modern popular music like Neil Young’s “Old Man” or Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Uncle John’s Band swings throughout and might actually be one of Scofield’s more approachable releases. I know I’ve been loving this one, and I’m sure it will end up on my top ten list next month.