The CD cover art features a photo of veteran jazz pianist, Joe Augustine smiling for the camera. Hence, a picture is worth a thousand words and the precursor for a good, solid outing by the leader of this date along with his quintet, also featuring the divergent talents of ex-Frank Zappa, “Genesis” and “Weather Report” drummer, Chester Thompson.
Essentially, Augustine forsakes any notions of pursuing heady, introspective, or self absorbed piano-based fare, as the leader lets the good times roll via listener friendly sentiment, catchy hooks and nicely-designed arrangements. The cheery proceedings commence with the vivacious, R&B and slightly funk tinged opener, “Groove Attitude.” Through it all, the musicians’ purvey hearty environs, whether engaging in a mid-tempo blues vamp on, “Fever” or melding simple rock motifs with a piquant Afro-Cuban pulse during the feisty, “Samba de Boyz”.
The merriment surges onward with Sonny Rollins’, “St. Thomas” and Cole Porter’s “Love For Sale,” as Augustine effectively utilizes all registers of his Steinway atop succinctly stated block chords, emphatic rhythmic passages and elegantly executed right hand single note leads. - Cool Today, Jazz Tonight serves as an appropriate description for this rather luminously performed affair, marked by an air of innocence and the artists’ noticeable camaraderie. Recommended!
Personnel: Joe Augustine; Steinway D grand piano: Denny Jiosa; guitar: Steve Novosel; acoustic bass: Chester Thompson; drums: Glen Caruba; percussion