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

November 20th, 2023

Scott Hesse Trio – Intention (Calligram)

Chicago based guitarist, composer and educator Scott Hesse doesn’t record enough. So, when he shows up with a new live album with a stunning trio (with Clark Sommers on bass and Dana Hall playing drums), we should all take notice. That new album, Intention, is a fascinating document, capturing these three in performance at Pro Musica back in March of this year. Kicking off with a beautiful, meditative reading of John Coltrane’s “Wise One,” Intention grabs you and doesn’t let go. The title track, written by Hesse is a swinging tune that gives everyone room to stretch. Wayne Shorter’s “Ana Maria” is played beautifully here, and while it may last nearly 14 minutes, not a second of it feels superfluous. Finally, Intention wraps up with an excellent Ornette Coleman composition, “Rejoicing.” Across the seven songs heard on the album, we’re taken on a journey that seems well worth taking. Here’s to hoping Scott makes recording a more regular thing. I, for one, could use a little more intention in my life.

Paul Giallorenzo Trio – Play (Delmark)

Paul Giallorenzo, a local pianist on Chicago’s Creative Music scene, recently released a new album on Delmark Records. Play, featuring bassist Joshua Abrams and drummer Mikel Patrick Avery, feels like a modern-day Herbie Nichols Trio record.  The quirky, sing-song melodies, the angular rhythms and the unyielding sense of playfulness heard on “Combustion,” “Meditation” and “Bindara Bundara” all leave strong hints about a big love for what Nichols was up to in the early 1950’s. To these ears, “Saturday the 14th” and “Smooth Sails” sound like Giallorenzo is a big fan of Thelonious Monk, too. If you, like me, are a big fan of those out of the ordinary pianists of the late 40s and early 50s like Monk, Nichols or Lennie Tristano, then you’re going to find a lot to love about Play.

Linley Hamilton – Ginger’s Hollow (Whirlwind Recordings)

Jazz trumpeter, impresario and farmer from Northern Ireland, Linley Hamilton is the real deal. I first came across him with his fantastic 2020 album For the Record, and on his latest album, Ginger’s Hollow, he’s only gotten better. This guy can write. This band can play.  Joined by Derek O’Connor on tenor, Cian Boylan on keys and heavyweights Mark Egan on bass and Adam Nussbaum on drums, this band swings hard, gets appropriately funky when the need arises and has plenty of swagger to spare. From the first notes of “Shinebox,” it is clear that Hamilton is a name deserving of more recognition outside of his homeland. “Sunday Morning” is just grooving, and “Jason’s Dream” is a really nice ballad. I’m looking forward to playing this one for you soon on WDCB!

Jammin Jazz
McAninch Arts Center