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

April 4th, 2022

Joel Ross – The Parable of the Poet (Blue Note)

On The Parable of the Poet, Joel Ross’ third album for Blue Note, the Chicago vibraphonist tries something a little different. A song cycle based around Ross’ faith, it is far more introspective and subdued than his previous efforts. And even more interesting is how willing Ross is to step out of the spotlight and let his sidemen have more of the glory. When those sidemen include Immanuel Wilkins and Marquis Hill, that’s certainly more than OK. The highlights of the album include the set ending “Benediction,” the ever building “Guilt” and one of the rare uptempo moments on the album, “Doxology.”


Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein & Bill Stewart – Perpetual Pendulum (Smoke Sessions)

Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart have been a potent trio since some point in the 90’s, and so there’s a certain subset of Jazz aficionados that waits with baited breath for new albums from this spectacular threesome (I’m one of them). Perpetual Pendulum absolutely does not disappoint. Drummer Bill Stewart has a signature brand of loose limbed funk that is almost always a signal that you’re going to have a good time, so when that kind of groove starts off “Lurkers,” I knew that I’d be in for a treat. “Little Green Men” is excellent, I really like their take on Wayne Shorter’s classic “United,” and, people, the double-timed solos on MJQ’s “Django?” There is A LOT to share with you on this one!


Joe Alterman – The Upside of Down (Birdland Records)

Sometimes, a bare bones, swingin’ piano trio hits the spot in the way that nothing else can. And Joe Alterman’s latest album, The Upside of Down features exactly that kind of group. To me, Alterman’s style immediately brings to mind Les McCann (who wrote the liner notes, and co-wrote one of the songs), Gene Harris and Oscar Peterson. Mix those three monsters together, and you get a pianist who is laser focused on the groove. And that seems about right here. “The Smudge” and “Gus Gus” wrap this set up in fierce, swinging fashion, and in the middle, “The Upside of Down” sounds like some classic 60’s R&B infused Jazz, standards like “Time After Time” and “The Days of Wine and Roses” are really nicely done, and there’s more to enjoy than just those highlights. I hope you like it as much as I do. And if you’d like to hear Joe Alterman play live, he’s in town this weekend, performing at Winter’s Jazz Club on Sunday (April 10) – with shows at 5:30pm and 7:30pm.

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