I've been a fan of Joey's ever since his first album. I find his albums, generally, to be interesting, but rarely exceptional. With this CD, possibly his worst, he is doing what his mentor Jack McDuff warned him NOT to do: sing. Usually, I'm interested in instrumentalists who decide to sing a few vocals, just to hear how their talent transfers to vocalizing, but not Joey D. I saw him in concert a few years ago and he sang (poorly), and ended up apologizing to the audience for his various voice cracklings. He is the owner of a thin, nasally singing voice, and his style consists strictly of trying to emulate Frank Sinatra, in a different way than his contemporary and fellow Sinatra worshipper Harry Connick, but equally as unsuccessful. In fact he's worse than Connick because he adds in the 'hip & groovy' Sinatra/Darin-isms (as on Mack The Knife) that always sound awful when anyone but Frank does them. All that's missing are the Vegas fingersnaps, and Joey could be the new Wayne Newton. He has no power and no pipes; he relies on the 'tender, whispery' approach for ballads and the 'hepcat' approach for most uptempos. Joey is no Sinatra, a fact some kind soul should whisper in his ear before he decides to sing again. I found all the tunes with vocals on this CD to be less than delightful, to say the least. As I said, I am a fan of his, but the guy is making it harder and harder to want to spend the money on his music.
The instrumentals, which comprise about half the album, are decent, but again, they are unspectacular (for the most part). But, any time you have the great Paul Bollenback and Joey together, there's going to be something good that comes out of the session. I can't recall if Joey played the trumpet on this one, but I'll take this opportunity to advise him to stay away from that too. His trumpet playing is stultifyingly boring without exception, yet he insists on playing it on a couple tunes on many of his records. He's another Miles emulator, with not even a fingertipful of Miles' talent. McDuff wasn't kidding when he told him to stay away from anything but organ playing. Joey is awesome on his main instrument and should follow the path of the other organ greats who were successful: stick to the organ (real B3, not MIDI), and vary the albums by the *choice of tunes*, *drawbar settings*, and *players*, not by trying to be a dual instrumentalist and singer. Groove Holmes, for example, never sang a note or picked up a wind instrument, yet he created dozens of satisfying, burning albums. Joey's not really that kind of player though; he tries to expand his horizons, an idea worth exploring for some people, but apparently not for him. He's getting into boring, almost modal jazz, using the same band every time, his sound is getting very stale, and in my opinion, it's time to get back to his specialty - burning.
I don't want to imply that this CD is wretched, it's not - there are a couple interesting tracks - but if Joey really wants to sing, he should either change his style or work with a vocal coach, because despite the fact that his heart is definitely in the right place and he's a sincere singer, his vocals are annoying and incompetent.