Taste, musicality, chops, maturity, and swing. These are words to live by when one steps into the ring as a jazz musician, and it’s obvious from the first listen that Joe Finn and his quartet live by these words…and more.
Destiny Blue is an album that takes the listener through a journey of musical solidarity as the Joe Finn Quartet plays an interesting and unpredictable mix of standard tunes like “Body and Soul” and “Anthropology”, alongside more modern fare like Makato Ozone’s “Kelly’s Other Tune” and Steve Swallows’ “Thinking Out Loud” plus an original composition “Destiny Blue”.
And speaking of Joe Finn, he is in fine form on this album as he demonstrates the above criteria of any successful jazz guitar player: taste, musicality, chops, maturity, and swing. Not only does he burn on tunes like the infectious Latin tinged and surprisingly funky “Body and Soul” and Wayne Shorter’s “Pinocchio”, but he does so in such a musical way that seems to effortlessly blend all his influences into one unique and expressive voice. His ability to play what the song needs and to not overplay is an admirable quality and a testament to the maturity that Finn presents to the listener in all the tunes, especially his solo guitar take of “A Portrait of Jenny” which is a thoughtful, sensitive and technically wonderful treatment.
You can get a greater sense of this by listening to the two Joe Finn vocal tracks “My Ideal” and “An Old Piano Plays the Blues” whereby everyone sticks close to the lyrical and melodic content of each tune. There are no musical egos here except for the combined efforts of producing a true musical statement which can be enjoyed by all concerned, both listener and player.
The remaining tunes receive the same approach and I couldn’t help but get the feeling that Finn really enjoyed playing on each of the tunes on the album especially his own composition “Destiny Blue” which is a very hum-able straight ahead blues with a nod to Wes towards the end of his solo.
And of course the band sounds great. Scott Bassinson, Gene Garone, and Mike Wicks, piano, drums, and bass respectively provide strong support for Joe as they lay down a solid foundation for Joe’s explorative improvisations. And even though this is definitely a Joe Finn project, each member gets to stretch out in their own way throughout the CD, which really makes this album a true collaborative effort on all parts.
If you are a dye-hard fan of jazz guitar, or just getting into the music, Destiny Blue is an album that should be in your CD collection. As Jimmy Bruno states, “if you like jazz guitar get this CD”. I couldn’t agree more!