Pianist Mike Jones leads a unique trio with bassist/magician Penn Jillette and master drummer Jeff Hamilton on a playfully swinging new album Are You Sure You Three Guys Know What You’re Doing? In the case of this sparkling new album, the inquiry is aimed at a piano trio, two-thirds of which at least can answer assuredly in the affirmative: Mike Jones is an accomplished and acclaimed straight-ahead pianist who studied at Berklee and plays with the soulful virtuosity of heroes like Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum; Jeff Hamilton, meanwhile, is one of the most revered drummers on the modern mainstream jazz scene, co-founder of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and collaborator with everyone from Monty Alexander to Diana Krall, Ray Brown to Michael Bublé. The head-scratcher comes when we look at the bass chair, held by someone who in another context could also answer with a resounding “yes” – Penn Jillette, along with his partner Teller, is perhaps the most famous, respected and irreverent magician of his generation. So what’s he doing walking the bass with two veteran jazz musicians? That question was partly answered by The Show Before the Show, the duo album that Jones and Jillette released in 2018. In this new project, Jones naturally takes on this collection of standards with the vigor and agility that have graced his more than a dozen albums as a leader. He opens “’S Wonderful” with a sharp-edged percussiveness and dances playfully around Jillette’s trotting bassline; Sonny Rollins’ “Doxy” is taken at a loping swing, while “On Green Dolphin Street” evidences the wistful tenderness of his ballad playing.