First off, this guy's backing band is fantastic! Very tight emphasis on a jaunty loungy type of piano when it needs to be, and smoky-corner-of-bar in other spots. The tenor sax make some nice cameos too, accentuating the tunes with blasts of brilliance. Now, if you can tell a book by its cover, I was somewhat surprised by this one. Just a shot of Giacomo Gates with a microphone in mid-tune. And it's a bit obvious, I guess would be a good way to describe it. The cover screams "lounge" and that's what you get. I expected to hear things mid-song welcoming the beautiful ladies in the crowd, and sure enough, the guy gives a monologue introducing some of these songs – and it's a studio album! Who is he talking to? But besides that, it's fun. Very Frank Sinatra. I cringe to admit it, but I kind of liked this one. I'll even let his cover of the Jimi Hendrix tune "Up from the Skies" slide just this one time. Highlights include "Melodious Funk" and "The Beginning of the End." This is worth it just to hear his band. -Daniel J. Graeber

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