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Are You Sure You Three Guys Know What You're Doing?
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Are You Sure You Three Guys Know What You're Doing? on CD

Mike Jones & Penn Jillette & Jeff Hamilton - Are You Sure You Three Guys Know What You're Doing? - Pianist Mike Jones joins magician/bassist Penn Jillette and legendary drummer Jeff Hamilton for a mix of standards and blues in classy fashion - Jones, naturally, takes on this collection of standards with the vigor and agility that have graced his more than a dozen albums as a leader, which include collaborations with Hamilton, bassists Kelly Sill, Mike Gurrola, Alex Frank and Katie Thiroux, drummers Matt Witek and Tim Davis; and guitarist Graham Dechter. He opens 'S Wonderful with a sharp-edged percussiveness and dances playfully around Jillette's trotting bassline; Sonny Rollins' Doxy is taken at a loping swing, while On Green Dolphin Street evidences the wistful tenderness of his ballad playing - something that he doesn't get to show off in an act where his job is hyping up a crowd to see card tricks and miraculous escapes. - As for Hamilton, Jones says it best: "Jeff is my favorite drummer alive," he enthuses. "He plays the style that I grew up listening to - that idea of swing, that digging in hard. It's straight out of the Ray Brown Trio or the Oscar Peterson bag." Just take in his joyous brushwork on Gone With the Wind, or his lighter-than-air volleying throughout "Perdido." The fun that all three are having is obvious throughout the album, but nowhere more than on Jones' impromptu original Blues for Burns, a dedication to Capri head honcho Tom Burns. - There's a novelty in witnessing someone as famous as Penn Jillette suddenly outside of his comfort zone, but that soon wears off as he ably anchors each of these tunes. What remains is the celebratory flair and the dauntless swing of a trio led by a pianist who has enjoyed a unique position for 21 years that provides him a spotlight several nights a week. "I get to try out all kinds of new ideas and stretch out all the time," he says. " And I know that Penn is going to be underneath me, playing solidly."