Denny Jiosa is a player of immense chops and fire, and while jazz dominates this album, Jiosa is also at home with R&B and pop, and cuts like “Forward Motion” give him the chance to show off his inventive soloing and strong use of melody.
Almost every cut here sticks. Jiosa is a master of the light funk that dominates smooth jazz, but on “I Am Roxanne,” his fiery playing overrides any mixed emotions about the genre. His soloing mixes single lines with octaves, and there’s even fuzzed-out rock. Effortlessly, both from a compositional and playing standpoint, he then glides right back into octaves to wrap it up. He shows off a lovely ballad touch on several tunes, including “Wounded Warriors,” with its great melody and fine playing. Same goes for his chordal work on the lovely “The Glass Half Full.” The CD has a bonus cut that pays homage to Wes Montgomery, from whom Jiosa takes a lot of cues; “East of Montgomery” is an old-school jazz piece and the connection is obvious. Like the latter-day Wes, he plays with fire, grace, and blazing technique.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Aug. ’08 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.