Texas Rhythm Club
Pianist Joe McBride, who debuted in 1992 with Grace, has consistently produced lively and jazzy instrumentals and vocals throughout his four CDs. He has also secured the help of top musicians to add their distinctive touches to his music, artists including Grover Washington Jr., Dave Koz, Peter White, Rick Braun and Larry Carlton. On McBride's latest, he goes for something different by using his touring members, the Texas Rhythm Club Band, and opting for mostly live instrumentation after previously settling for computer drum-machine sequencing. The result is another strong effort. The title track speaks to the style of the CD, as a mix of R&B and contemporary jazz is spiked with horns, as are "Lone Star Boogie" and "On the Money." Homage is paid to Texas' Joe Sample on "Texas Twister," a boogie number, while "White Rock" and "Howzit in Dallas?" are by-the-book smooth-jazz numbers, showcasing McBride's clear piano lines. McBride's first-class vocals mean he has to include them on his CDs: Here they are soulful to the extreme on "Everything Remains the Same" and "It's You." But McBride gets funky and funny on "Texas Blues Cruise," a loving tribute to the Lone Star State's hard-partying spirit that even pokes fun at McBride's blindness-he went blind as a teenager after contracting a degenerative eye disease.