What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Ethan Philion – Meditations on Mingus (Sunnyside)
Chicago based bassist Ethan Philion has put together a phenomenal band to celebrate the music of Charles Mingus for his centennial. Aptly titled Meditations on Mingus, this is a heavy and impressive project. This lineup is top-notch and world class: Russ Johnson and Victor Garcia on trumpets, Rajiv Halim, Geof Bradfield and Max Bessesen on saxophones, Norman Palm and Brendan Whalen on trombone, Alexis Lombre on piano, and Dana Hall on drums. This group sounds phenomenal on some of Mingus’ more challenging music, like “Meditation for a Pair of Wire Cutters,” “Pithecanthropus Erectus,” and “Remember Rockefeller at Attica,” just to mention a few. A big tip of the cap to Philion for arranging the music and getting the musicians into one room to get this done, as that could not have been an easy task. Ethan will be bringing this band to the Chicago Jazz Festival, so you will most certainly be hearing much more of this one as we get closer to Labor Day weekend. Enjoy!
Ronnie Foster – Reboot (Blue Note)
50 years after his debut for Blue Note Records (1972’s The Two Headed Freep) and 36 years after the last album recorded under his own name, organist Ronnie Foster is back with a new album called Reboot. Who knows what brought about the willingness to get a new album out into the world, but we are all the better for it. Reboot kicks off with its title track, which is tight and funky, “Sultry Song II” lives up to its name, as does “Swingin’”. Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” eventually gets into its expected groove, but Foster takes his time getting there. This is a fun record, and I’m glad that Ronnie Foster decided to reboot his recording career.
Chucho Valdes & Paquito D’Rivera Reunion Sextet – I Missed You Too! (Sunnyside)
Chucho Valdes & Paquito D’Rivera were the pianist and woodwind players in the Cuban juggernaut known as Irakere. Monstrous jazz, pop, folkloric and classical musicians, they played it all in that band (along with Arturo Sandoval and so many more heavy hitters). Over 40 years ago, amidst D’Rivera’s defection to the US, Valdes and Paquito stopped talking. They’re talking again. And the results are here for the world to see on I Missed You Too! Sadly, they only wrote one song together for the album (“El Maja de Vento”), and the album is dominated by Valdes’ compositions; but that’s ok, Valdes can claim some of the greatest Afro-Cuban jams ever written, including “Mambo Influenciado” and “Claudia” which both get updates on this collection. This is a monster of a record.