If Wes Montgomery incompletely morphed into John Pizzarelli, then the resulting sound would approximate Chris Cortez’s guitar style. If Louis Jordan incompletely morphed with the same John Pizzarelli, that result would approximate Mr. Cortez’s vocal style. Mr. Cortez plays octaves all over a set of swing standards on his new release, Hold it Right There. He does this best on the swinging instrumental "Ain’t Misbehavin’" and jazzy James Taylor "Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight."
Mr. Cortez’s band perfectly supports him, preparing the smoky momentum of the rhythm section best supporting Cortez’s swing repertoire and slightly feral voice . Hold It Right There is a perfect foil to John Pizzarelli, not replacing him, but offering an engaging alternative without as scrubbed an image...and that is a good thing. Perfect after-hours music. Recommended.