Moving Forward finds Joey Berkley welcoming four talented and versatile musicians who are open to a variety of style. “We did not want the music of this band to be limited,” says Joey, “so we’ve found a happy place where all of our styles and histories come together.”

Bassist Joris Teepe is a long-time associate. He produced Joey’s first CD back in 2000 and was a member of his quartet that recorded Made In NYC. Teepe’s long list of credits include albums of his own that feature such sidemen as Don Braden, Tom Harrell, Chris Potter, and Randy Brecker. Drummer Chris Parker has recorded with a countless number of top artists, from the original Brecker Brothers, Carmen McRae, Lionel Hampton and Freddie Hubbard to Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin, and was a member of one of Joey’s most colorful groups, Funkasaurus Rex (which had a five-piece horn section). Pianist Gary Deinstadt has been a friend of Joey’s for 20 years, is a multiple Grammy winning composer, and was part of his 2009 CD More’n Four. “He is very sensitive to what is going on around him. We have a very direct musical connection and sometimes work as a duo.” Guitarist Andy Abel was part of Joey Berkley’s Bandits, his previous group and worked with Blood, Sweat and Tears, Dave Valentin and Chip Taylor. “His musical experience is more rock and pop-oriented, approaches that I wanted in the band because that is part of my history.”

The program, which is comprised of the leader’s originals plus an inventive version of a pop song, begins with “Moving Forward.” Joey describes that song as being about “pushing one’s life into new areas that are positive.” Starting as a brief tenor-drums duet before the full group enters, the performance has a lengthy melody, intense saxophone playing, and fluent piano solo that is backed by energetic drumming.

“Loss And Found” is a soulful and melodic tune with a wistful melody. “This represents getting past the traumatic moments in life by letting them go and moving on to the future.” Near the piece’s conclusion, the interplay between tenor and guitar is full of fire, as if one were purging the past in favor of new adventures.

“Dunce Cap,” a reference to a term used on an episode of the original Star Trek television series, is essentially a shuffle blues. However its quirky melody and the vamps that begin each solo (which seem to stop time) give the piece its own fresh personality. It includes blazing guitar and tenor solos, a spot for bassist Teepe, and some drum breaks by Parker.

“Goodbye” has several sections and covers a variety of moods, starting quietly with a piano introduction and Joey stating the melody before a second hotter theme emerges. A wailing tenor solo generates a lot of heat before a return to the original mood closes the piece.

The one song on this set not written by Joey Berkley is “Killing Me Softly” which was a big hit for Roberta Flack in 1973. His new arrangement retains the melody, reharmonizes the chords a bit, and is much more modern while keeping the integrity of the original song.

“Once Upon A Time” which is described as “a bittersweet piece about growing up,” is given a relatively thoughtful and soulful performance with the adventurous pianist often in the spotlight. “3/4 of 4/4” is a likable jazz waltz that features excellent piano, tenor and bass solos before a particularly colorful closing vamp. The happily funky “Alamo” pays tribute to its composer’s period as a street musician in New York and one place in Union Square alongside the cube sculpture that is called Alamo. The closing “Hymn” brings the set to a quiet spiritual close as Joey plays a heartfelt duet with Gary Deinstadt’s keyboards.