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What's New on WDCB... with Paul Abella

March 20th, 2023

Eric Reed

Eric Reed – Black, Brown and Blue (Smoke Sessions)

Pianist Eric Reed recorded some songs late last year, and they’ve recently made their way to a new album for Smoke Sessions Records called Black, Brown and Blue. Featuring bassist Luca Alemanno and drummer Reggie Quinnerly, there is a lot of ground covered on these 13 tracks, with just one original each from each of the band members. The rest of the album is filled out with classics from some of the most legendary pianists in jazz history, like Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, and some other gems as well. The lovely ballads heard here, like “Search for Peace,” “I Got it Bad” and “Infant Eyes” are played beautifully, and even more lively numbers, like Benny Golson’s “Along Came Betty” are played with a delicate touch that is gorgeous.

Gilbert Castellanos

Gilbert Castellanos – Esperame en el Cielo (Z Note)

San Diego trumpet player Gilbert Castellanos has a new album out with a crew of fellow Southern Californians (Christopher Hollyday on alto sax, Joshua White playing piano, John Murray on bass, and Tyler Kreutel behind the drums) called Esperama en el Cielo. The title track might be a Puerto Rican bolero, but this is not a Latin Jazz album by any stretch. Castellanos has definitely been influenced heavily by Lee Morgan, which shows in the brash phrasing, the blues drenched playing and even the song choices, like Morgan’s “Totem Pole.” Here’s to hoping that there’s more like Esperama en el Cielo on the way in the future from Gilbert Castellanos.

Joe Locke

Joe Locke – Makram (Circle 9)

A new Joe Locke album, in my estimation, is always a reason to be excited. He’s a fiery player that sounds comfortable in many a situation. On Makram, he gets to quite a few of those situations. Things start off on the good foot with a rousing arrangement of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale” where pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Lorin Cohen and drummer Samvel Sarkisyan set up a fantastic groove, and everybody just leans into it. “Raise Heaven (for Roy)” adds in some lush horns for this lovely ballad and tribute to Roy Hargrove. Also on the ballad front, Locke wraps up the album with a solo rendition of Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life.” In between, “Tushkin” gets to a whole bunch of moods in the span of its 7 minute run time, with an excellent assist from Tim Garland, and “Interwoven Hues” is a solid, grooving swinger that I look forward to coming back to a few times on DCB Jazz.

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