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

May 17th, 2021

Nnenna Freelon – Time Traveler (Origin)

It has been entirely too long between albums from Nnenna Freelon. Discounting a Christmas album from 2012, the last we heard from Freelon was in 2010. She’s back in 2021 with Time Traveler, an album recorded in the wake of her husband’s long term illness and death in 2019. Considering the tragedy and heartache surrounding the album, it’s an astonishingly upbeat affair. Even the songs that could have been maudlin, like “Time in a Bottle,” instead get invigorating reinventions, with tasteful arrangements that make everything here a compelling listen.

The Echo Park Project – It’s My Turn (The Echo Park Project)

The Echo Park Project is the brainchild of Brooklyn born conguero Carlo Lopez, who sought to bring the Salsa Dura of New York City to Los Angeles. I think he succeeded. This is a grooving record of original compositions, and the sound of joy here is palpable. It’s My Turn has already been featured on the Mambo Inn and during the Latin Bit, where these sunny grooves are right at home. And now the rest of WDCB’s hosts will be getting a crack at this one. The humorously titled “Monktuneando” definitely evokes Thelonious, as well as the Latin Jazz masters that have figured out that Monk tunes make for great Afro-Cuban jams. “Can’t Complain” stands out for its punchy horn lines and infectious groove, and “Charanga in Q” is a hard driving song that seems to do a great job of blending East Coast edge and tempo to a West Coast sunny disposition.

The Soul Message Band – Live at the Blue Llama (Blue Llama)

The Soul Message Band, Chris Foreman (organ), Lee Rothenberg (guitar) and Greg Rockingham (drums) are back, this time with a smokin’ live album recorded at the Blue Llama in Ann Arbor, MI in February of 2020. This is an album of effortless swing and powerful grooves that instantly puts smiles on faces. Live at the Blue Llama is proof that Foreman, Rothenberg and Rockingham are quite effective as a trio, and just as much fun to listen to as the larger version of the band that appeared on 2019’s Soul Message album. Whether it’s the hard driving swing of “Matador” or the masterful teasing of a groove on “Midnight Special,” this is an album that is going to get played A LOT on WDCB.


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