Looking back at Karl LaPorta's 2012 album, "The Gift," his piano-playing leads velvety and valiant, providing a pleasant shag in which listeners can wiggle their toes. The album is concise in its various platforms and plateaus, with shining highlights throughout.
In particular: Dig the tasteful guitar that shows up on "New Arrival," and the Beatles-esque strings that emerge quietly on "First Snowfall." There's also the organ on the title track, Paul Gaspar's tight and bright trumpet on "Memory Reflections," and Jimmy Richmond's "midnight in New York" saxophone — which weaves its way onto the lone cover in the batch, Bobby Hebb's 1966 hit "Sunny." "The Gift" is progressive in spots, smooth in others, and aces all around.