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

September 11th, 2023

Pete Zimmer – Dust Settles (Tippin’ Records)

Drummer Pete Zimmer recently released his latest album, Dust Settles, with an excellent crew that makes for a grooving disc from this talented quintet. Joined by Stacy Dillard’s saxophones, Peter Bernstein’s guitar, the piano playing of Miki Yamanaka, and bassist Yasushi Nakamura, Zimmer and company swing nicely through this collection of standards and originals. Taking “Speak Low” at a slow, slow, slow tempo is a bold move that works. Two classics that have seemed to get some more attention as of late, Duke Pearson’s “Idle Moments” and Woody Shaw’s “Sweet Love of Mine,” both get well played treatments here, too. Zimmer’s “Smooch the Pooch” and “5 A.M. Blues” are standouts as well. Besides getting to hear Dust Settles on the air here, you can see these songs performed live at our WDCB Night at the Jazz Showcase tomorrow night (Tue, Sept 12) at the official album release concert, presented by WDCB!

Maddie Vogler – While We Have Time (Origin)

Chicagoan Maddie Vogler has put together an impressive project with her new album, While We Have Time. Having recently graduated from the University of Illinois, she put together this debut album with a sextet featuring Tito Carrillo on trumpet, Matt Gold on guitar, Jake Shapiro on piano, Samuel Peters on bass and Neil Hemphill on drums. The leadoff track, “The Need to Be” is a fantastic song and arrangement that sounds like a slice of late 60’s Blue Note at its finest. “Hymn for August” while brief, is a lovely duet for saxophone and piano that I wish was quite a bit longer than its 1:45 runtime. Vogler proves to be a composer, arranger and player off to a fantastic start with While We Have Time. I look forward to hearing her much more often.

Adam Levy – Spry (Lost Wax)

I don’t know if guitarist Adam Levy was attempting to make an album that resembled Bill Frisell’s work with Kermit Driscoll and Joey Baron, but if he was, he hit the ball out of the park on his latest album, Spry. Joined by bassist Larry Grenadier, and Joey Baron himself on the drums, Levy’s compositions, guitar tone and pacing all resemble those great 80’s and 90’s Bill Frisell records that some Jazz fans just cannot get enough of. The pace of Spry is laid back in the extreme. The atmosphere does a lot of the work on this album, where Baron’s brush strokes, Grenadier’s big, big bass notes and Levy’s affected tone take up a lot of the space between the notes. “Very Tall” feels like an update of the Sonny Rollins classic “Doxy”, and “Your Name Here” swings in its own way. If Jazz is ready for nostalgia of the late 80’s and early 90’s albums on ECM and Nonesuch, then Adam Levy’s Spry might very well be leading the way.

McAninch Arts Center