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July 11th, 2022

Steve Cardenas, Ben Allison & Ted Nash - Healing Power: The Music of Carla Bley (Sunnyside)

Casual Jazz fans have probably heard Carla Bley’s name in passing without hearing her music too often. Gary Burton is a big fan, and one of the albums he recorded with a young Pat Metheny was an entire record dedicated to Bley’s music. So, it’s fantastic to see another album filled with Carla Bley’s compositions, as performed by a new generation of musicians on Healing Power: The Music of Carla Bley. The band is minimal – guitarist Steve Cardenas, bassist Ben Allison and saxophonist and clarinetist Ted Nash collaborate on nine of Bley’s songs. Given the drummerless trio format and the low-key playing, there’s a lot of subtlety in the proceedings. The uptempo songs, like “Donkey,” and “Ad Infinitum” definitely add a lot to the program, and the ballads, like “Ida Lupino” and “Olhos de Gato” really shine brightly.


Evan Drybread – Tiger Tail (Evan Drybread)

There’s a small, but dedicated Jazz scene that is thriving in and around Indianapolis, and saxophonist Evan Drybread is the latest figure to document the music coming out of it. His new album, Tiger Tail, is a swinging affair where he’s joined by an excellent cast of characters: Mark Buselli plays trumpet on four songs, while the rhythm section of Christopher Pitts (piano), Scott Pazera (bass) and Kenny Phelps (drums) keeps things lively throughout the session. Things get off to a rousing start on “Blackball” and an impressive amount of ground is covered from there. “High Priestess” and “Woodruff Place Town Hall” indicate that Mr. Drybread enjoys a fair amount of Jazz from the 70’s, “The Queen of Cups” and “Tiger Tail” feel like homages to Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane, respectively, and “Atlantic Mirror” and “Waltse” give us a chance to hear Evan Drybread and Christopher Pitts in duo formation, and playing beautifully in that combination, I might add.


Matt Shevitz – First Take! Live on WDCB (Matt Shevitz)

Matt Shevitz took over the helm as the Jazz Studies director at College of DuPage in the fall of 2019, just in time to enjoy a total upheaval of our daily routines. To his credit, he didn’t ever let it stop him from making some fantastic music. We took the opportunity to broadcast Shevitz’s quartet a number of times since he’s made his home on campus at COD, and First Take! Live on WDCB shows off some of the highlights from the earliest of those performances. There are compositions from Chicago legends like Herbie Hancock (“Dolphin Dance”), Johnny Frigo (“Detour Ahead”) and Eddie Harris (“Freedom Jazz Dance”), there are a couple of Louis Armstrong classics (“Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” and “West End Blues”) and more besides. These arrangements are fresh, interesting and engaging, and they reward repeated listening. Which means that I, for one, am glad that they made their way from our airwaves to a CD, so they can be on our airwaves (and in your ears) a whole bunch more.

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