Catch a Corner
Cinque (Italian for “five") features the jazz-funk talents of Joey DeFrancesco (Hammond B-3), Steve Gadd (drums), John Johnson (saxes), Robi Botos (keyboards) and Peter Cardinali (bass). They all have tons of credits, having worked in jazz and pop with everyone from Chick Corea and Aretha Franklin to Chaka Khan and the Brecker Brothers. DeFrancesco is a story unto himself—after having placed third in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition as a teen, he was invited by Miles Davis to tour (and record) with him when he finished high school in 1988. In 2000 he recorded the first of two albums with B-3 legend Jimmy Smith, who said of DeFrancesco, “After Joey, nobody’s close.” The tunes here range from the bouncy, straight-ahead “Geppetto’s Blues,” with great solos by Johnson and DeFrancesco, to the dreamy “Two Worlds” that, like the title track, is marred for me by the cheesy-sounding electric piano. However, Botos plays a real piano on other tracks and really cooks—as does Gadd–on Cedar Walton’s catchy “Bolivia.” Basically this is just five guys hanging out and spontaneously telling each other stories, and their infectious interaction is a delight.