Guitarist Danny Abel has been one of the most prolific sidemen on the New Orleans scene these past few years, contributing his chops to a wide variety of projects like Soul Brass Band, Gravity A, Khris Royal & Dark Matter, Robin Barnes, Corey Henry & The Treme Funktet, Pat Casey & The New Sound, Noah Young Band and many more. Now he’s diving into some original material of his own for the first time with a series of brand new tracks that blend the jazz, funk, R&B and rock styles he’s known for.
“I’m always playing shows with a lot of bands, but need an outlet to create for myself too,” Abel says. “A lot of these songs started as me just writing at home for myself, but after building up a repertoire, I decided it was time to get the music out and start leading my own project. There is a lot to be learned from both sides, being a sideman and being a leader, and I feel like it’s time for me to do both.”
Recorded at New Orleans’ Parlor Recording Studio in the Fall of 2016, these slickly-produced new tracks—”Go,” “Took It” and “Deep Decisions”—demonstrate Abel’s knack for building engaging instrumental tunes out of a variety of disparate styles. It doesn’t hurt that he’s backed by a talented group of musicians that includes bassist Eric Vogel, keyboardist Shea Pierre, drummer Alfred Jordan, saxophonist Khris Royal, and trumpeter Ashlin Parker (Abel’s Gravity A bandmate Drew Meez adds some synth to “Deep Decisions” as well).
While all three tunes sound great in their instrumental form, Abel tells us he plans to record a version of “Took It” with a singer and lyrics sometime down the road. He also intends to put out a full length album after recording more of his original material during another session in the near future.
In the meantime, Abel has a number of shows on the horizon with his Danny Abel Band, a quintet that featuring many of the musicians who played on his new recordings. Next up is a gig at Gasa Gasa’s Progression Music Series on Tuesday, April 25, a show at The Maison on Wednesday, April 26 and a Jazz Fest late night “Insomniacs Ball” at 30/90 on Saturday, May 6. That last show is scheduled for 2am—so it’s technically the early morning of Sunday, May 7—and will be a co-bill with Khris Royal & Dark Matter and Max Moran’s Neospectric.
Give Danny Abel’s new tracks a listen here: