Johnny Rodgers: Box of Photographs

Just entering the national pop-jazz radar after a half-decade’s worth of seasoning in Chicago and on the New York cabaret circuit, Floridian singer-songwriter-pianist Johnny Rodgers is definitely one to watch. A bit of a vocal chameleon, Rodgers variously suggests James Taylor, Jim Messina and Seals siblings Jim and Dan, all accentuated by a crystal-clear, slightly countrified cadence.

Traveling with bandmates Danny Mallon (drums), Brian Glassman (bass) and Joe Ravo (guitar) from the reflective, autobiographical pain (and release) of “In the End” and warm hug of “Sweet Georgia Smile” to the southern-fried ebullience of “Miss Dixie” and the post-Elvis revival meeting that is “Movin’ to Graceland,” Rodgers proves himself a consistently engaging troubadour. To be fair, though, Box of Photographs wouldn’t likely be half the welcome introduction it is without the masterful assistance of fellow journeyman Richard Barone as producer, coarranger, sometime cowriter and constant champion.