What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Tom Harrell – Oak Tree (High Note)
A new Tom Harrell album is always a cause for celebration. They happen with some degree of regularity, but never often enough, and by far and away, they’re almost always great. His latest for High Note Records, Oak Tree, is no exception. Joined by some familiar names – Luis Perdomo on keys, Ugonna Okegwo on bass and Adam Cruz on drums, this band is nimble and swinging. “Evoorg” gets things off to a rousing start, “Fivin’” sits in a rather interesting and lightly funky groove. “Robot Etude” is as angular as the name might suggest, and it’s my favorite song on the album. You’ll have your favorites too as we share more and more of the album with you.
Charles Ruggiero – Drummer, Composer (RMF Records)
Drummer Charles Ruggiero has penned at least enough songs to fill an album, and that’s exactly what he’s done on the self-explanatory Drummer, Composer. Joined by a fantastic cast including saxophonist Stacy Dillard, pianist Jeremy Manasia and bassist Ungonna Okegwo, Ruggiero’s writing is straight ahead, swinging and fun. “Leeway” and “B. Lew’s Be Loose Blues” best exemplify all three of those traits rolled into one. “The Creeper” and “Altered States” groove at a little slower of a pace, but still get the toes tapping and the fingers snapping. It’s just as groove-centered as you’d expect a drummer’s record to be, and Drummer, Composer does not disappoint.
Brian Charette - Jackpot (Cellar Live)
By now, Brian Charette has played in plenty of situations, from straight ahead sessions with George Coleman to completely out of this world excursions both solo and with bands. On Jackpot, Charette finds himself in a studio with two heavyweights in guitarist Ed Cherry and drummer Bill Stewart, and label head and saxophonist Cory Weeds. The quartet gets started in a beautifully funky zone with “Polka Dot Pinup,” mining a fat boogaloo groove for a way too short five minutes. Other than that, this is a hard swinging disc that doesn’t let up. “Tight Connection,” “Triple Threat,” “Upstairs” and “Vague Reply” all cook, and everyone on Jackpot sounds fantastic. I think you already know, this one is going to get played a whole bunch around these parts on WDCB.