Whaling City Sound
Joe Beck teams with bassist Mark Egan and drummer Danny Gottlieb on Just Friends (Whaling City Sound). The CD's 10 songs range from overly familiar pieces like "There Will Never Be Another You" and "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise" to more intriguing works such as "Blues for Joe Farrell," which features Beck's strongest, most assertive and striking solo, the inventive and enjoyable "Get Ready" and the lush rendition of "Gentle Rain." Egan and Gottlieb make excellent partners in this trio, which has a cohesive, inviting sound. Egan's lines on "Zanzibar" spark fiery responses from both Beck and Gottlieb, while the drummer capably handles ensemble or solo duties. Hopefully, Beck's next release will contain more originals, because he's a very good writer. There's absolutely nothing musically suspect about the trio's reworking of Cole Porter's "I Love You"; it's just not as exciting as their treatments of Beck's tunes.