No, I didn't buy the CD just for its cover (although that sounds exactly like something I'd do). After eyeballing my collection, I'm going to say that I have more CDs by this band than any other act. For purposes of this blog, this is the 5th of 23 CDs in the collection that I've listened to (and I figure the band has 5 more releases that I somehow don't own). I've liked this group since the late 70's and, even though they've gone through some rough spots, they can still put out a quality CD when they want to. For this release, the addition of drummer Boney B has upped the energy of the band, even on the ballads. The band hasn't sounded this good in years. Boney is a native of Trinidad and brings some authenticity to the group's sound, even adding some reggae influenced toasting vocals in places. A lot of this music reminds of the band's late-80's work. According to the Wikipedia, "Many songs on the album have been featured on The Weather Channel's Local On The 8s segments" so that should give you an idea of what the music sounds like.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart
Tracks: 12 tracks, most of it the usual solid, upbeat Latin/Caribbean fare, but it's all very listenable. No track skipping here. I normally don't like electric jazz violin, but it is handled in a tasteful way on The Left Bank. Andy Narell's steel drums are a nice touch on Island Time. Best tracks are the title track, Simple Pleasures, and Jam Up.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: If you order CDs directly from the band's website, group leader and saxophonist Jay Beckenstein will autograph the CD booklet: