What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella
T.S. Monk – Two Continents, One Groove (Storyville)
T.S. Monk, son of the legendary Thelonious Monk, is a fantastic drummer with an impressive resume, and he’s back on the scene with a new live album called Two Continents, One Groove. He leads a solid sextet with Josh Evans playing the trumpet, Willie Williams and Patience Higgins on the saxophones, Helen Sung on the trumpet and Kenny Davis on the drums. And, for added oomph, Dave Stryker is on the first cut, the sole T.S. Monk composition here, “Sierre.” Aside from two Monk tributes from band members (Helen Sung’s “Brother Thelonious” and Josh Evans’ “Earnie Washington”), the rest of the program is dedicated to the music of hard bop royalty: Jymie Merritt’s “Nommo,” Miles Davis’ “Seven Steps to Heaven,” and two from the pen of Randy Weston. This band is cooking with gas.
Tierney Sutton – Paris Sessions 2 (BFM Jazz)
Vocalist Tierney Sutton is back with a new album, recorded with the same musicians who graced 2014’s Paris Sessions. Reconvening in California this time, guitarist Serge Merlaud, bassist Kevin Axt and, on four songs, flautist Hubert Laws got together in late 2021 to record a set heavy on Bossa Novas and Great American Songbook standards. This gentle and barebones setting pushes Sutton in some interesting ways. She scats through “Doralice” without attempting the Portuguese lyric. She takes “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” at a much more relaxed tempo than we’re used to hearing, and the combo of “April in Paris/Free Man in Paris” is a bold reinterpretation of both songs.
Jeremy Manasia Trio – Butcher Block Ballet (Blujazz)
Pianist Jeremy Manasia has put together a nice trio disc with two New York stalwarts, bassist Ogonna Okegwo and drummer Charles Ruggiero called Butcher Block Ballet. This all-original program is tight and funky, with boogaloos and greasy swingers. The title track gets things started right with a solid foot-tapper of a jam, and things only get groovier from there. “Take the In-Step” and “House Rules” swing tastefully, and “Simply Put” is delightfully funky.