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Mike Jones Trio: Roaring

Dan Bilawsky By

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The musical legacy of The Roaring Twenties is alive and kicking. For his second date on the Capri imprint, pianist Mike Jones decided to pull together a collection of Jazz Age nuggets and drop into the studio for a nonchalant session with bassist Katie Thiroux and drummer Matt Witek—a blue-chip rhythm duo whose musical stock has steadily been on the rise in the past few years. Jones had never recorded with the pair before, there were no rehearsals, and everything, save for one number, was said and done in one take. You'd just never know that from listening. This trio gels in all the right ways as it swings its way through a winning program of classics.

While every track on Roaring is tied together through time and age, there's more variation here than you might expect. Quite often it simply comes through the way the tempo and swing feel are chosen and calibrated. On one track these three might be working a cool and hip angle ("Yes Sir, That's My Baby"), on another they might be speeding down the thoroughfare ("I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me"), and on a third they may slowly glide along ("Am I Blue"). All three of those examples swing, but they do so in very different ways. Add to that some other numbers in completely different realms—a reflective solo piano saloon song ("What'll I Do"), a peppy take on the Latin sound from another time ("I'll See You In Cuba")—and you have more than enough variety to satisfy the ears.

Jones is a pianist with many gifts, both technical and interpretive in nature, but he never takes to preening through his piano work. He simply enjoys sitting behind the instrument and giving a song a spin. He can prance, pounce, and deliver a blinding flurry across the keys as well as anyone, but he's not using artifice as a sales tool. He's playing music, and he's just as likely to charm with a small gesture as he is to impress with a grand artistic stroke. Thiroux and Witek, likewise, are all about the sound and the songs. They stand tall and speak for a form of the music that's sorely missed in today's too clever by half jazz atmosphere. While Roaring doesn't represent anything strikingly new or different, it's certainly noteworthy. It perfectly zones in on the spirit of jazz, serving all the while as a strong tribute to a much-loved period.

Track Listing: Yes Sir, That's My Baby; If I Had You; I'll See You In Cuba; Home; Mean To Me; I Found A New Baby; Me And My Shadow; What'll I Do; I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me; Am I Blue.

Personnel: Mike Jones: piano; Katie Thiroux: bass; Matt Witek: drums.

Title: Roaring | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Capri Records

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