Best Of 2021

Best jazz album (small group): La Lucha ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’

La Lucha ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’

This popular trio—pianist John O’Leary, bassist Alejandro Arenas and drummer Mark Feinman—that got together in 2007 at USF music school, doesn’t abide by jazz rules or orthodoxies. That’s evident throughout the 13-track Everybody Wants to Rule the World, in which the threesome augments its lineup with guest artists, most notably multi-reed player Ken Peplowski, who produced the sessions. La Lucha has a penchant for Latin grooves, but also tosses in the synth-driven funk original “Dance, Dance, Dance.” Rather than rely on jazz standards, La Lucha favors interpreting the ‘80s pop music of its youth, including a dreamy, stellar version of the title track (long a staple of its live gigs). The trio almost manages to make something of the treacly Patrick Swayze ballad, “She’s Like the Wind.” They reach back even further for a touching rendition of the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder).”

See all the winners from Best of the Bay 2021