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

April 24th, 2023

Benny Green

Benny Green – Solo (Sunnyside)

Pianist Benny Green eschews the sidemen on his latest for Sunnyside Records, simply titled Solo. I expected this to be as soulful as it is. I expected a setlist absolutely rooted in the tradition (the only originals here are dedications to past masters), and I was not let down. Green is an excellent solo pianist, and I think a whole lot of WDCB listeners are going to love Solo when they hear it.

Cecilia Smith

Cecilia Smith – The Mary Lou Williams Resurgence Project, volume one: Small Group Repertoire (Innova)

It has been a while since vibraphonist Cecilia Smith put out an album. And I’m glad the wait is over, because she sounds just as good as I remember her on The Mary Lou Williams Resurgence Project, volume one: Small Group Repertoire. She’s swinging with a clear tone, grooving ideas, and a killing band that includes Lafayette Harris, Jr on the piano and organ, Ron Savage on bass and Ron Savage on drums. Of course, the concept of playing Mary Lou Williams songs, a few that she loved to play, and a few inspired by her, is a great idea. “Truth Be Told for MLW” is a great way to get things going, “Miss D.D.” gets a stripped down arrangement that works awfully well, and the combination of B-3 and vibes on “It’s a Grand Night for Swinging,” is a nice touch.


Nightcrawlers – Get Ready (Cellar Music)

Tenor saxophonist Cory Weeds’ Soul Jazz group, the Nightcrawlers, is back at it again in 2023 with Get Ready. As always with this band, they are in the pocket with a greasy groove, courtesy of Nick Hempton’s alto, Dave Sikula’s guitar, Chris Gestrin’s organ, and the percussion section of Jesse Cahill (drums) and Jack Duncan (percussion). I love that this band digs deep for some lesser known tunes like Baby Face Willette’s “Face to Face” or James Williams’ “What Do You Say, Dr. J?” while still being able to conjure up some of their own magic on Weeds’ “Get Ready,” or Hempton’s “Tough at the Top.”

McAninch Arts Center