What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
Joe Policastro Trio – Sounds Unheard: Odds and Ends 2012-2022 (Jeru Jazz)
Bassist Joe Policastro is one busy guy. Besides being a first call bassist for many leaders in town, he also leads his own band with its own unique take on Broadway classics, Jazz tunes and Joe’s original material, too. Through the years, Joe has released a number of albums, and, it appears, a handful of songs didn’t make their ways to their intended albums. So, now there’s a new Joe Policastro Trio album…Sounds Unheard: Odds and Ends 2012-2022, and it captures some, of those moments. What’s interesting is that over the course of four different trios spanning ten years, these songs sound like they belong on one album, and that’s a testament to Policastro’s vision. From the theme to Goldfinger to Gen-X classics like “Take On Me” or “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” there is a significant amount of ground covered and a lot to love on Sounds Unheard.
Al Foster – Reflections (Smoke Sessions)
Drummer Al Foster needs no introduction, but his latest album might. Reflections captures him with a cast of superstars: Nicholas Payton on trumpet, Chris Potter on saxophone, pianist Kevin Hays and bassist Vicente Archer. The album is an interesting mix of originals (everyone except Archer contributes at least one song) and Jazz classics from the pens of McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. Those classics are played with precision, wit and grace, so I’ll leave those to your ears as you hear them on WDCB. The originals, though, merit a few introductions. Foster’s two up-tempo numbers are both tributes to Monk, and feel very Monkish in their approach. Nicholas Payton’s “Six” feels like Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay, without sounding like it in the slightest. Kevin Hays’ “Beat” sounds like one of the Miles Davis 60’s quintet ballads in all of the best possible ways. Reflections is a gem of a record, and I look forward to playing it a bunch on DCB Jazz!
Billy Drummond and Freedom of Ideas – Valse Sinistre (Cellar Live)
Another drummer led session with some bad cats along for the ride, Billy Drummond’s boldly-titled band, Freedom of Ideas, has just released a new album, Valse Sinistre. Joining Drummond are Dayna Stephens on the saxophones, Micah Thomas on piano and Dezron Douglas playing bass. There are some very cool (and somewhat obscure) songs recorded here: Grachan Moncur III’s “Frankenstein,” Tony Williams’ “Lawra,” Stanley Cowell’s “Reconfirmed,” and the Carla Bley composition which gives the album its name. The playing is exciting throughout, with these four listening to each other intently and landing on some interesting terrain at times.