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

July 1st, 2024

Kenny Reichert - Switch

Kenny Reichert – Switch (Calligram Records)

Chicago based guitarist Kenny Reichert has recently released his third album, Switch. Boasting an excellent band with saxophonist Lenard Simpson, bassist Ethan Philion and drummer Devin Drobka, and guest appearances by Alyssa Allgood and Geof Bradfield, Switch is a diverse record that gets through a lot of moods and textures in its 9 tracks. Things start off nicely with a fat groove from Philion on the CD’s title track, before melody statements from Reichert and Simpson slowly unfold. “Vanguard” will certainly get a hearing on Notes from the Jazz Underground sooner than later, with the influence of early Bill Frisell looming large in the proceedings. “Shadows” finds Reichert teaming up with Allgood and Bradfield for a unique trio of voice, guitar and bass clarinet. “Cherry,” “The Midnight Sky” and “Farewell” are all very nice examples of pretty and quiet modern jazz that are nonetheless quite engaging.

Eliane Elias - Time and Again

Eliane Elias – Time and Again (Candid)

Pianist and vocalist Eliane Elias is back in 2024 with a new album called Time and Again. Joined by a rotating all-star cast including guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Peter Erskine, vocalist Djavan and many others. As an all-original program, Time and Again is a fascinating document which sounds heavily influenced by two of my favorite Brazilian Jazz Fusion albums, George Duke’s Brazilian Love Affair and Wayne Shorter’s Native Dancer. “A Volta” and “Making Honey” are both fantastic examples of those influences, while “Falo Do Amor,” “How Many Times” and “Sempre” (a lovely duet with Djavan) feel like throwbacks to the best examples of Contemporary Jazz of the 1980’s and 90’s. Elias proves that she remains a triple threat as a top notch vocalist, pianist and composer on Time and Again, and it’s a great disc to have in the mix for some breezy summer listening!

Brian Landrus - Brian Landrus plays Ellington & Strayhorn

Brian Landrus – Brian Landrus Plays Ellington & Strayhorn (Palmetto Records)

Brian Landrus Plays Ellington & Strayhorn is the name of the new album from the saxophonist, clarinetist, flautist and arranger Brian Landrus. Putting himself in front of a great rhythm section of Dave Stryker (guitar), Jay Anderson (bass) and Billy Hart (drums) was smart. Limiting himself to selections from two of the greatest composers that Jazz has ever known, in Ellington and Strayhorn was pretty smart, too. And by overdubbing a bunch of woodwind parts to create a much larger group than a quartet ensures that you’ll get along with your section mates fairly well, too.  Put all of the above on “Chelsea Bridge,” “Lush Life,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” “Isfahan” and ten more classics, and you’ve got a disc that’s pretty easy to like and really easy to play.

Jazz Night in America
McAninch Arts Center