Pianist Larry Fuller isn't exactly coy about the substance of this record. Exuberance is an obvious through-line as he works his way across a dozen charmers that frequently live up to the promise of the title in different ways.
Leading an ace trio with J.J. Shakur on bass and Lewis Nash on drums, Fuller finds his way into this realm with a peppy and all-too-short take on Wes Montgomery's "Fried Pies." Then he continues along the path paved with positivity, emanating a beautifully reserved glow on the Stevie Wonder-penned title track and gleefully working through the bass-bolstered swing of Ray Brown's "Lined With A Groove." By the time he gets to "Jane's Theme," a work of intoxicating mystery dedicated to his wife and hinting at a familiar Chick Corea favorite, it's clear that Fuller is a pianist fueled by passion.
The remaining tracks do nothing to alter the atmosphere established early on: "The Mooch"an original, not the Ellington classic with an "e" at the end finds the pianist at his most ebullient; "Cubano Chant" shows Fuller flying as Shakur and Nash serve as stokers; the coupling of "Bossa Beguine" and "Bossa Nova Do Marilla" plays off the titular style, first with heat and then by clinging to fragile heart; and a "Got My Mojo Workin'" finale extols the virtues of swagger. Even when dipping into deeper emotional wells on a "Mona Lisa" serenade or a reflective "Never Let Me Go," Fuller's artistic certitude radiates warmth. His sincere enthusiasm for the music is never in doubt, even for second, and it makes for a serious selling point here.
Fried Pies; Overjoyed; Lined With A Groove; Jane's Theme; The Mooch; How Long Has This Been Going On?;
Cubano Chant; Mona Lisa; Bossa Beguine; Bossa Nova Do Marilla; Never Let Me Go; Got My Mojo Workin'.
Larry Fuller: piano; Hassan Shakur: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.
African Jazz Beyond Jazz Big Band Blues Brazilian Classical Dixieland / New Orleans / Swing Electronica Free Improv / Avant-Garde Fringes of Jazz Funk / Groove Fusion / Progressive Rock Hot Jazz Jam Band Latin Lounge / Exotica Modern Jazz R&B / Soul Straight-ahead (Bop, Hard bop, Cool) Vocal