Jump with Joey


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For a seven-piece band, Jump With Joey make a lot of music, a cross between Skatalites-style ska and big band jazz. Recorded in '89, but not released in the U.S. until '97 (the original album was for Japan), this was definitely a record ahead of its time, coming out of the punk jazz band Tupelo Chain Sex. But there's nothing punk about these perfectly formed pieces, with pianist Mike Boito an absolute standout, taking some daring solos on the right hand while his left keeps up a strong rhythm, and drummer Willie McNeil not only able to swing hard in the Philly Joe Jones style, but also hit a perfect traditional ska groove, as on the title track, a cover of a piece by the late Jamaican trombonist Don Drummond. To be fair, it all gets silly at the end with "Green Acres," but by that time they've already made and won their case with some outstanding musicianship that crosses as freely between jazz and ska as did the originators of the genre. In fact, to simply call them a ska band really doesn't do leader "Tupelo" Joe Altruda and his crew justice; they're able to leap tall genres in a single bound and land on their feet, never missing a beat as they play. And because of that, their music can stand the test of time, after so many of the Third Wave ska bands have been found wanting.

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