How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Jackie King has played everything from country and rock to Tex-Mex, but on Moon Magic, the guitarist sticks to straight-ahead hard bop. Forming a trio with bassist Wilbur Krebs and drummer Michael Aragon, King turns his attention to nine songs (most of them well known standards) that contain the word "moon" in their title. If you notice some parallels between King's playing on this CD and Herb Ellis' playing, it's no coincidence. Like Ellis, King grew up in Texas, and like Ellis, he plays with a noticeable country twang. You can hear it whether he's enjoying some high-speed aggression on "Fly Me to the Moon," "How High the Moon" and "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" or being more relaxed and introspective on "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and "Moonlight in Vermont." Although the moon concept is interesting, this isn't an album that offers a lot of surprisesmost of the songs have been recorded time and time again by hard boppers. Moon Magic is neither groundbreaking nor earth-shattering, but it's likable and generally decent.