New Releases Spotlight: Week of July 13, 2015
Hey all –
This week in The Music Lounge, music director Paul Abella takes a look at two new releases:
Let’s start in Chicago with the latest from Chico and George Freeman, called All in the Family. This is an excellent disc featuring the handiwork of Chico Freeman (Von’s son) on tenor and George Freeman on guitar with an all-star cast backing them up, including Mike Allemana, Harrison Bankhead and Hamid Drake. They mix it up throughout, ranging from gorgeous balladry ("Angel Eyes") to mellow grooves ("Dark Blue") to some fantastic swinging ("A Distinction Without a Difference"). All in all, an excellent disc that I think you’re going to love.
Latin Jazz trombonist Wayne Wallace has a new disc out too, called Intercambio. Just like his other releases, he mixes some excellent originals and thoughtful reinterpretations of jazz classics. His take on JJ Johnson’s "Shutter Bug" is fantastic. Also to note is a beautiful treatment of Miles Davis’s "Circle," complete with a string section that adds something gorgeous to the arrangement. Once again, Wayne knocks it out of the park, and you’ll hear this during DCB Jazz, as well as Victor Parra’s Mambo Express.
Multi-Grammy winning composer and bandleader Maria Schneider has always been a favorite of mine for her lush and brilliant arrangements. Her latest, The Thompson Fields, does not disappoint in the slightest in that it’s breathtaking in both her songwriting and the chances she takes. Of course, arrangements and compositions don’t really matter if the players can’t execute, but that’s not a concern on The Thompson Fields. This one is played beautifully throughout! I’m usually never at a loss for words, but this disc is so gorgeous that it leaves me speechless. And you’re going to have plenty of chances to be speechless too, when we play it for you on 90.9 FM!
Next week in The Music Lounge, I’ll review new releases from Joe Locke, Scott Hamilton and Bob Mintzer. ‘Til then… keep your ears open!