Longtime Austin resident and pianist T Jarrod Bonta usually hobnobs in country music circles. In Texas, that necessarily includes Western swing, and if this debut effort had hot fiddles and steel guitar, it would be a Western swing album. Instead, it's a delightfully swinging jazz affair that's an impressive showcase for Bonta's stylistic versatility and impressive chops. One moment he's strutting a sprite, modified stride style on "Meandering," reminiscent of fellow Austinite Teddy Wilson, and the next he's in more modern mode, waxing angular à la Thelonious on "Monkin' Around." The round, toned, fluid guitar runs of compadre Jim Stringer provide a potent, complementary punch. Except for a pair of standards, "Some of These Days" and "Please Don't Talk About Me," where the leader cops Alvin Crow's vocal nasality, Schnauzer King is filled with original instrumentals. Still don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing, and this does.
Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.