Paul Abella Has Friends? is Paul’s newest project, and an excuse to play with his friends from throughout Chicago’s robust Jazz scene. And it also represents a first: a band led by Abella dedicated to playing the music of his Jazz heroes, like Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, Thelonious Monk, Idris Muhammad, Charles Mingus, as well as a showcase for his original material.
This time out, Paul’s friends are Shawn Maxwell, a saxophonist, flautist and composer with a number of fine albums under his belt. Preyas Roy, a vibraphonist who has played with an astounding who’s who list of Chicago’s creative music heavyweights and Chris Bernhardt, a bassist who bounces between Jazz, Blues and pop ensembles with ease, laying down fat grooves with a buoyant swing. Paul plays cajon.
If you’re a jazz fan in Chicago, though, you probably know Paul as the morning show host and music director at WDCB, where he spins a healthy mix of modern jazz, classics, Afro-Cuban Jazz and New Orleans Funk.