Joseph Diamond – Island Garden
(Basileus – 2002)
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.
I first met Joseph Diamond in New York at the 2000 IAJE. He later sent his CD ‘Not Your Typical New Yorker’ which was surprisingly fresh and interesting. His new CD ‘Island Garden’ continues in the same Latin/Jazz vein, and continues to strike gold. ‘Montoya Mambo’ sets the tone right away… hot! ‘Anytime’ strays into the realm of more contemporary jazz. ‘Black Cowboy’ has a real gaucho on the range feel to it, then he goes urban again with the jam ‘L.A.’, best categorized as smooth jazz.
Diamond wrote all of the songs on the CD, another testiment to his abilities. ‘That’s Not A Good Idea’ is a sprightly samba-tinged track with some quality piano runs. ‘Someday It Will Be OK’ is very smooth and sweet. It should be the theme song for one of those doctor/hospital TV shows (mmmm royalties!). The title track ‘Island Garden’ is very fluid, waxing and waning as it rolls by. Joseph switches between the smooth and latin jazz worlds in a seemingly effortless manner, one minute you’re groovin to the ballad ‘What You Gonna Say’, the next minute you’re carried away on the Latin rhythms of ‘El Stupido’.
Diamond shares the musical duties with Leo Traversa on bass, Vince Cherico on drums and a host of players (18 to be exact) that make appearances. ‘Early Autumn’ closes out the CD in a slowed down mode, probably a good idea after the exciting ride it took to get there, and again Diamond shows that he is truly a pianist that plays many kinds of music, not just a Latin/Jazz musician. This is another good, varied CD from a guy that’s definitely not your native New Yorker. Don’t be ‘El Stupido’, give it a spin.