For The Love of Abbey
Marc Cary (Motema)
“For The Love Of Abbey” is jazz pianist Marc Cary’s first solo offering and a gift to his mentor the late jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln. Some great jazz pianists were in Lincoln’s employ Mal Waldron and Wynton Kelly for example. Cary held the longest tenure. Soon after Cary’s run with Art Taylor’s Wailers ended, Cary joined Lincoln’s band. He credits her for teaching him how to hustle. “For the Love of Abbey” is a wonderful tribute and solo album. It’s Cary’s most introspective date. It gives his fans a front row view of his mint condition virtuosity. The album is long—14 cuts total—so pack a lunch. And have some tissue handy because it’s melancholic in spots. Nine of the songs are from Lincoln’s imagination. Wonder if her spirit is in Cary fingers when he plays “Melancholia,” " For Moseka" and “Love Evolves”.
JD Allen (Savant)
The tenor saxophonist JD Allen isn’t swing obsessed. Allen’s albums don’t make you boogie. But you surely feel smarter after listening to them. Over the years, Allen has stuck to a surefire formula: keep the compositions short, leave the pianist at home, and keep drummer Rudy Royston and bassist Greg August at his side. With that formula, Allen has made some thought provoking albums. For his new date, “Grace,” Allen test-drives a new band pianist Eldar Djangirov, bassist Dezron Douglas and drummer Jonathan Barber. Aside from the personnel shakeup, “Grace” is what Allen’s admirers have come to expect jazz designed for deep thinkers. On cuts such as “Luke Sky Walker,” “Detroit” and "Grace", Djangirov is just as beautifully heady as Allen is. It would be wise for Allen to keep him on the payroll.