What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Louis Hayes – Crisis (Savant)
Drummer Louis Hayes is still swinging at the age of 84, and on his latest album, Crisis, he’s got some formidable friends to help him in his quest to keep grooving. Joined by saxophonist Abraham Burton, vibraphonist Steve Nelson, pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Dezron Douglas, and on two tracks, vocalist Camille Thurman. This lively album is sure to please a lot of ears, and my favorites are the uptempo romp “Roses Poses” and Steve Nelson’s “Alien Visitation.”
Damani Phillips – No More Apologies (self-produced)
Saxophonist Damani Phillips put together a phenomenal (if all too short) album in 2021 that knocked me off my feet. Written for Jazz quartet and strings, the arrangements here are smart and swinging. “So In Love” gets an arrangement that tips its hat to Cannonball Adderley, while the version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Corcovado” is invigorated with a hip groove that really works. I hope we hear more from Mr. Phillips in 2022!
Alex Brown – The Dark Fire Sessions (self-produced)
Keyboardist Alex Brown has crafted an intriguing album called The Dark Fire Sessions. At times a straight ahead album, at other times, an Afro-Latin album drawing from a deep well, and still at other times, an adventurous, electric album that feels funky, but never heavy. Helping him to pull off this rather impressive feat is his brother, Zach Brown on bass, Eric Doob on drums, and guitarist Matthew Stephens, who shows up on about half the album. Together, they make a whole lot of music in the span of an hour. “24/7” swings, “Before it Began” is a beautiful piano/guitar duet, and “Novembro” is a nice chunk of funk to groove to.
Here's one of the songs from The Dark Fire Sessions, performed live…