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

March 28th, 2022

I figured a great way to wrap up Women’s History Month would be to check out three great new releases from some women who have made some brand new fantastic Jazz albums!

Melissa Aldana – 12 Stars (Blue Note)

Saxophonist Melissa Aldana makes her debut for Blue Note records with 12 Stars. A collaboration with guitarist Lage Lund, the band also features pianist Sullivan Fortner, bassist Pablo Menares and drummer Kush Abadey. It’s a beautiful disc that feels like an ice-cold European Jazz album in the best ways. Songs unfold at deliberate tempos, melodies are thoughtful, and, well, melodic. The rhythm section actively pushes Aldana and Lage to reach for greater heights throughout the seven songs on 12 Stars, and these five masterful musicians prove that tempos don’t always have to be bright for music to be exhilarating. This one has been a joy to listen to.


DIVA – The Diva Jazz Orchestra Swings Broadway (self-produced)

Sherrie Maricle’s DIVA Jazz Orchestra has a new album out dedicated to Broadway themes both new and old. The DIVA Jazz Orchestra Swings Broadway is a fantastic outing featuring great playing throughout from a star-studded ensemble. There are classics from the Great American Songbook here, with Gershwin’s “The Man I Love,” Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” and Lerner & Lowe’s “Get Me to the Church On Time.” But we also see some insightful arrangements of more modern Broadway fare here, too. The 16 ladies of DIVA make some cool choices throughout, and I, for one, am thrilled to get to share this one with you.


Michele Thomas – The Assumption (self-produced)

Chicago based vocalist Michele Thomas has just released her third album, The Assumption, and it’s a nice one. She’s assembled an excellent cast of characters that get featured throughout the course of these eleven songs, including Neal Alger (guitar), Chris Mahieu (keys), Clark Sommers (bass), Darren Scorza (drums), Jeff Hedberg (trumpet) and Chris Greene (sax). Put that much talent in one room, and things will groove, swing and pop, depending on how the mood strikes. On originals like “No More” or “I Know Because You Told Me So,” things are solidly funky. The Blind Faith classic “Can’t Find My Way Home” gets a unique treatment that sounds fantastic, and on “Nobody Else But Me,” Thomas and co. swing magnificently.

 

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