Joe Deninzon Trio: Exuberance
Joe Deninzon has made a name for himself by defying expectations. The Russian-born fiddler has jazz and classical chops, but he’s equally adept at ass-shakin’ rock, funk, and straight-ahead pop. Joined here by guitarist Steve Benson and bassist Bob Bowen (who has since passed away), Deninzon finds unexpected nuances in the Alice in Chains classic “Heaven Beside You,” Steely Dan’s “Bodhisattva,” and Radiohead’s “The Tourist,” rendering them with the same care and adeptness as Fats Waller’s “Jitterbug (Used To Be A) Waltz” and Django Reinhardt’s “Nuages.” Deninzon also revisits one of his older tunes, “Sun Goes Down”, sung here by Luba, and Bowen contributes the titular piece (“Exuberance, in the Face of Utter Anguish and Despair”), two of the record’s most exhilarating moments. In the end, Exuberance serves as a refreshing and unpretentious bridge between jazz, classical, rock, and pop built by three musicians who seem capable of just about anything.