Although it's Jimmy Ponder's date, the guitarist and his Pittsburgh colleague organist Gene Ludwig could be billed as co-leaders on "What's New." On the High Note CD "James Street" you get to hear more of Ponder in isolation and as the main man in a quartet setting. Take "J.P.," where he goes on a Sonny Rollins-like improvised solo run, and "Love Theme from Spartacus."
Other highlights include a fun sprint through "You Can't Take That Away from Me," with some clever quoting of "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top," and ballady renderings of "God Bless the Child" and "Body and Soul," the former a real contrast from the version on "What's New." John Hicks plays a mostly supportive role on piano but gets in a few good solos of his own, which you would expect from a guy who's simply one of the best modern sidemen, when he's not leading his own excellent sessions.