What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Jane Monheit – Come What May (Club 44)
Vocalist Jane Monheit has a new album out called Come What May, and it’s a return to form. Over the course of her discography, we’ve seen Monheit go from small group Jazz interpretations of the Great American Songbook to lush orchestrations to blockbuster productions with big time producers to edgy reimaginings of the Ella Fitzgerald songbook. And, on Come What May, we’re back to square one. Well, mostly. There are some luscious string arrangements on “Samba do Aviao,” “The Nearness of You,” and “My Funny Valentine,” and they are tastefully done, and add a nice touch to the proceedings. When it’s just the group, some of the songs are exactly what you’d expect…”Lush Life” is a beautiful ballad in duet with pianist Michael Kanan. On the other hand, “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” surprises with its hints of Latin percussion, before moving into a nice, tight, swinging groove. And Come What May grooves nicely from first track to last.
Kendall Carter – Introducing Kendall Carter (self-produced)
Organist Kendall Carter is impressive on his debut album, aptly named Introducing Kendall Carter. Joined by guitarist Dave Stryker and drummer Kenny Phelps, this album swangs. From the first notes of “Blame it on the Boogie,” you know you’re going to be in for a treat. Phelps sets up the groove with a Blakey-esque shuffle that just pops out of the speakers, Carter’s playing is grooving and tasteful, and Dave Stryker is in the pocket and doing his thing. “The Masquerade is Over” gets a surprising uptempo treatment that really works, and I really dig the cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.” If this introduction to Kendall Carter is any indication, I think we’re in for a lot more great music from this young organist.
Benito Gonzalez – Sing to the World (Rainy Days)
Benito Gonzalez is a Venezuelan pianist who’s played with Pharoah Sanders, Kenny Garrett and Gerry Gibbs as of late. On his latest, Sing to the World, he’s put together a great album with some amazing players, including Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride and Jeff “Tain” Watts. That firepower does not go to waste on this project. Boasting a mostly original program, it also includes a never before recorded Roy Hargrove composition, “Father,” and “412,” written by Tain. Then there’s the ballad, “Offering.” With great solos here from Gonzalez and McBride, this one ebbs and flows, like crashing waves on a beach, with solos that are just as beautiful.