Denny Jiosa: Jazzberry Pie

Known as an inspirational/gospel composer, guitarist Denny Jiosa turns in a sly, varied and even moody effort in Jazzberry Pie (Blue Orchid 2024-2; 48:24). Jiosa’s high-flying Wes Montgomery-meets-Pat Metheny sound spins detailed, melodic solos which vary from gentle, bent-note reflection (“Nine Weeks”) to rubberband free jumping and diving (“Vertigo”) and even a touch of blues (“Takin’ the Backroads”). Jiosa’s tunes are never as purely sweet as his guitar tone might indicate either. Clever elements like the foreboding dark piano refrain in “Old Money,” lending intrigue and humor, give his arrangements complex points of view. Even the spiritually derived “In Your Presence” is not as completely straightforward as one might expect-Jiosa’s lithe melody touches both twinkling harmonies and darker chords, as if illustrating the complexity of humanity.