"Luna Loca" Riddle introduces songs of his own. It's an audacious move, lining up next to cherished heavyweights. But the tunes and the performances stand up. "Luna Loca," the song, fits in just fine next to "Take Five."
The original tunes are strong – fluid, infectious and playful. With repeated listenings, they reveal shadings and complexities that remind you of the redemptive power of beautiful melodies played well. Riddle's tunes have a sense of inevitability to them, like all well-contructed songs do, yet there's plenty of room for surprises.
The rhythm section (Joe Peterson on double bass and Dan Weeks on drums) provides snap and momentum, freeing Riddle to find the sweet spots and re-imagine the melody line. Chuck Welch, Riddle's first guitar teacher, provides the rhythm guitar and steps forward with occasional leads. The songs contain the various DNA strands that make jazz what it is: blues, Latin, bebop, ballad.