Joseph Diamond - Keep Your Dreams

Joseph Diamond was not the typical New Yorker. This key whiz mixed Latin jazz and Salsa in a blessed and ingenious way. Nobody knows when Joseph was infected by this challenging music, perhaps during his studies in the University of Miami music department.

I had the great honor to review his debut album Not Your Typical New Yorker (1999) and his sophomore project Island Garden (2002). With great sadness I heard about his sudden death on August 28, 2008.

Keep Your Dreams is Joseph's personal musical legacy. Joseph recorded his last album with the support of his longtime friends Leo Traversa (bass), Vince Cherico (drums), Bruce Williamson (sax), Diego Lopez (percussion), Cecilia Tenconi (flute), Kenny Rampton (flugelhorn) and Nancy Assis and Gilad (percussion). Joseph's music is unique but accessible. During all the years he went the stony way as an independent artist never giving up his own dreams. A grateful Thank You to his family for making Joseph's last project available.

The new album starts with Joseph's most important tune Montoya Mambo II. Joseph commented about the first version on his album Island Garden: "This song was written for my first playing engagement with the band in Wilmington, Delaware. The name Montoya was given to me in Aruba and being that the song has such a dance feel to it, I decided on Montoya Mambo." The new version is jazzier and raw. Joseph expands the solo part of the song and includes more improvisations.

The title song is the smooth and swinging counterpart to the first tune. A little bit of samba, a little bit of Joe Sample. Keep Your Dreams has the perfect flow.

Not Your Typical New Yorker II based on the same melody as the predecessor on Joseph's same-titled debut album but there is more color and freshness especially through Bruce Williamson's superb flute play. Joseph defines the term Latin Jazz in a new way. Unbelievable his creative and brilliant performance on piano.

Melange is a song with a great range of elements from Latin Jazz, Bossa Nova and Pop. Exquisite Joseph's extensive solo interpretation on piano, very sultry Mala Waldron's sweet vocals sometimes electronically alienated.

Shady Maiden is a dark piece of improvisation. It would be a great score for a French film noire.

There Goes One More is an alternation to Joseph's song There Goes Another One from his album Island Garden. This piece has its own twist between the music of Pat Metheny and Carlos Santana. Stimulating and captivating. A great solo on flugelhorn by Kenny Rampton.

Deep in the jungle you find Iwreck. Innovative, adventurous and strange with an oriental appeal. A reflection about the war in Iraq. Que Bonita (How pretty) is the perfect title for Joseph's salsa flavored piano play decorated with Cecilia Tenconi's flute.

Sometimes in your life you reach a point when you have to reflect about your deed and taken ways. Think About It is Joseph's contemplative companion for this moment. On Prayer For Carla Joseph reveals his personal standpoint about death and life. Share your sorrow but keep upright and in a positive mood.

I'm So Happy Just To Dance With You is the musical expression of joy. Imagine a wonderful sunny day at the beach or anything which fills your heart with happiness. The opposite part is Requiem. A dark tune with some sweet bitterness but also peace.

With Joseph Diamond we lost an icon of Latin Jazz. A star extinct in his brightest moments. Joseph, we miss you.




  • Album Information

Title: Keep Your Dreams
Artist: Joseph Diamond
Year: 2008
Length: 1:19:33
Genre: Latin Jazz
Label: Basileus

01 Montoya Mambo II [7:27]
02 Keep Your Dreams [7:14]
03 Not Your Typical New Yorker II [5:21]
04 Melange [8:22]
05 Shady Maiden [6:00]
06 There Goes One More [5:11]
07 Iwreck [6:32]
08 Que Bonita [6:49]
09 Think About It [5:55]
10 Prayer For Carla [7:34]
11 I'm So Happy Just To Dance With You [6:42]
12 Requiem [6:26]