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What's on WDCB... with Paul Abella

January 18th, 2021

Emmet Cohen: Future Stride (Mack Avenue)

If you’ve been watching Emmet Cohen’s career, he’s been a very solid, straight-ahead jazz pianist for years, recording trio albums filled with standards and classics. On his latest, Future Stride, Cohen both looks back to stride, and forward with bold original compositions – drawing on Melissa Aldana (tenor sax) and Chicago’s own Marquis Hill (trumpet). One of the most charming moments on the album is a duet between Emmet and bassist Russell Hall on Duke Ellington’s "Pitter Patter Panther"; but I promise over the next few months, you’ll hear us play every track on Future Stride, because everything on here is a winner.

Wolfgang Lackerschmid & Chet Baker: Quintet Sessions 1979 (Dot Time)

Quintet Sessions 1979 by vibraphonist Wolfgang Lackerschmid is yet another entry in the ever-growing list of new albums from old sessions.  I admit to never having heard of Lackerschmid before receiving this disc, but the rest of the band – Chet Baker, Larry Coryell, Buster Williams and Tony Williams – certainly need no introduction. The interplay between these musicians is impressive, and it’s nice to hear these great compositions from Tony Williams, Buster Williams and Larry Coryell.

Connor Bernhard: Altitude (Bace Records)

Chicago trumpeter and composer Connor Bernhard closed out 2020 by releasing his debut album, Altitude. Joined by an impressive local cast that includes Jeff Swanson (guitar), Julius Tucker (piano), Andrew Vogt (bass) and Clif Wallace (drums), Altitude is a great way to kick off a career. The disc is filled with sprawling compositions, that take multiple twists and turns. Bernhard’s got a lot to be proud of here.