Quick and to the Point
: Safe Latin jazz album that dips on several related musical genres
Island Garden is the latest production from pianist Joseph Diamond where he continues his Latin jazz ventures after his debut as leader in Not Your Typical New Yorker. Diamond is a fine pianist with amicable and familiar compositional and arranging ideas, stemming from Diamond’s similar style of playing. He dwells mostly in radio friendly and danceable material rather than abstract jazz, which should endear this CD to various audiences that lend towards Latin material but find the most so-called progressive figures in that market too hard to handle or simply experience it as an unintelligible language.
The recording will not cheat anyone in terms of variety, or extension of the recorded material, as all 13 songs feel and are as extensive as they need to be. As far as Diamond’s playing is concerned, he is a competent pianist who has learned to meld his personal liking and experiences with Hispanic music and culture, as well as jazz and popular music forms, even incorporating quotes from other Latin jazz figures, in his original material. “That’s Not a Good Idea” is the best example in this recording of such “quoting.”
Some of the highlights are facilitated by the use of several veteran musicians from NY who, under the direction of Diamond, become facilitators of wide musical Spanish Caribbean and Hispanic angles that cover several grounds, giving the album multiple airs.
Contact: www.josephdiamond.com .
Personnel: Bade & djembe-Sogbety Diomande (7).
Bass, fretless (13)-Leo Traversa.
Bongo & shekere-Johnny Almendra (3, 7).
Conga & bongos-Bobby Allende (1, 11).