With a deft touch and a lyrical soul, Mike Jones does indeed work and play well with others!
Brent Black / www.-bop-n-jazz.com
If you are "old school" the term "two handed pianist" means something to you. To break it down, a two handed pianist is one whose left hand is as equally strong as the right. A rare breed.
The aptly titled new release from the musical director for the Penn & Teller show, Plays Well With Others is a master class in technique and a celebration of swing from days gone by. As strong as Jones is as a soloist, he may be stronger still with this working trio of Jeff Hamilton on drums and Mike Gurrola on bass.
Most professionals can bang out a set of standards for a quick and easy payday, few can reinvent tunes from Jimmy Van Heusen, Jonny Mercer, and Jerome Kern with such proficiency as Mike Jones. One of the main reasons Plays Well With Others works well aside from brilliant arrangements would be the somewhat eclectic set list including the Fats Domino tune "I'm Walkin'" and "Besame Mucho" from Consuelo Velazquez. Expect the unexpected. Making old school new cool is indeed a beautiful thing and the harmonic synergy exhibited from this trio is most addictive.
Whimsical art work, an eclectic song selection, and unbelievably gifted technique all come together for one of the more solid trio efforts for the year. This 1986 Berklee graduate is as artistically gifted as he is technically proficient and Plays Well With Others is lyrical slight of hand and in the best way!
Tracks: Besame Mucho; It's A Wonderful World; September Song; I Know Why And So Do You; Box Viewing Blues; Detour Ahead; Day By Day; Corcovado; I'm Walkin'; Deed I Do; I'm Old Fashioned; I Thought About You; Obscuro Blues.
Personnel: Mike Clark: Piano; Mike Gurrola: Bass; Jeff Hamilton: Drums.