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1. 3’s A Crowd (6:34) featuring George Young- alto sax

2. Song For Meg (6:27) featuring Tony Micelli- vibraphone

3. The Call (4:27) featuring John Vanore- trumpet

4. John Cage Scared My Dog (6:55) featuring Mick Rossi- piano

5. For John And Elvin (4:52) featuring Gary Meek- tenor sax

6. Just Above The Clouds (5:48) featuring Kenny Stahl- flute

7. Gone Now (6:34) featuring Tyrone Brown- bass

8. A Monotony Of Hazards (6:40) featuring Stu Reynolds- bass clarinet

9. Chant Of The Soul (8:58) featuring Scotty Wright- vocals

10. Ellie’s Dream (6:33) featuring George Genna- piano

Billy Jones- drums, all tracks

If three’s a crowd, then two is just right. Billy Jones is a well-known drummer from Philadelphia and Monterey, California and has performed for many years with a variety of jazz and popular music artists. He has created this album, a collection of ten duets, to explore the world of percussion, and in the process he elevates the drums to a co-starring role. Each tune features Billy performing on drums along with a guest artist on their instrument of choice.

Multi-talented saxophonist George Young joins Billy for the title track, a jazzy piece full of trills, rolls and off-beat rhythms by both musicians, expertly calling, responding and trading the lead. Vibraphonist Tony Micelli performs one of the more musical numbers in this set, the light and breezy Song For Meg, with Billy primarily accompanying on brushes. Tony is a busy jazz artist based in Philadelphia and performs and teaches in the US and internationally. Composer and trumpeter John Vanore is also from Philadelphia and performs The Call, a soaring fanfare bop accompanied by Billy’s jungle drum rhythm. Four of the tunes in this set were totally improvised: two of them are the avant-garde John Cage Scared My Dog featuring New Jersey pianist Mick Rossi, and the bop-style number For John And Elvin, with Gary Meek performing on tenor sax with Billy lending a full accompaniment, heavy on high-hat and cymbals. The other two improvisations are also interesting; Just Above the Clouds features flutist Kenny Stahl, who opens with a drifting, warbling wail before settling into a bold, bouncy melody, matched by Billy’s steady, no-nonsense work on the snare kit, and Chant Of The Soul, a slow, simple scat by jazz vocalist Scotty Wright accompanied by Billy’s cool bop rhythm effects. Bassist Tyrone Brown is another musician from Philadelphia, and has performed for many years with some of the top jazz artists in the world. He performs Gone Now, another cool number with a repetitive bass melody, highlighted by dynamic percussive effects. Bass clarinetist Stu Reynolds performs the tune A Monotony Of Hazards, and opens with a deep tugboat call as Billy provides a shimmering cymbal background, before the duo settle into their groove with a simple four note melody, happily repeating and accompanied by an off-beat, bouncy Latin rhythm on drums and cymbals. Pianist George Genna has been an accompanist for many years to some of the top singers in show business. He plays Ellies’s Dream, with Billy performing with both brushes and sticks, and George supports with simple background chords to highlight the center-stage drum effects.

This album was released in March, 2017. The music was recorded at Elm Street Studios near Philadelphia and at Shop Studios in California. It was produced by John Vanore. The sound quality is good overall but varies between tracks with a small bit of unbalanced mixing. There is no booklet, comments and credits are listed on the disc cover.

Bruce McCollum

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