Steve Gadd; Center Stage
Drummer Steve Gadd has always favored a contemporary sound and that same preference is heard here with Gadd and friends working over some pop material and original works with the acclaimed WDR Big Band. It’s still a bit too obviously commercial for my ears. The band sounds tight and well rehearsed, and baritone vet Ronnie Cuber delivers some appropriately hot solo work. There’s also a lot of gritty guitar and organ solo work here, but I guess that’s nearly a requirement on these kinds of sessions. Not my cup of tea, but it may well be yours.
Leopard Records; 2022; appx. 55 min.
Fun House; David Blake
Vancouver, BC guitarist David Blake leads a quintet of local pals on a bristling session of mostly original music, and they definitely turn up the heat. Much of the music is both intricate and demanding, and features especially dynamic solo work from Blake, trumpet ace Thad Bailey-Mai, and riveting pianist Brad Turner. A haunting highlight and the only standard on the session is Blake’s tender solo performance of the Ellington-Strayhorn beauty, “Single Petal Of The Rose”. Some of this music won’t be meant for your aunt Lillian, but it is thoroughly creative, sometimes intense, and to me, highly listenable.
Cellar Music; 2022; appx 71 min.
Out In It; Thomas Linger
So many outstanding jazz pianists, and even more impressive, there is an ever growing number who are true to the tradition and will keep it going! Such a player is North Carolina born Thomas Linger. He and his quartet concentrate on swingin’ originals with one exception: Billy Strayhorn’s classic “Lush Life”. This session celebrates the pure joy of making jazz music. Thomas Linger is his name; you’re going to be hearing it again and again.
Cellar Music; 2022; appx. 58 min.