Hendrickson-Smith's "O'Cleary's Shuffle" is an expanded ditty showing off the tremendous talents of each member of this stellar team of musicians. A smooth trumpet launch, backed by shuffling brush strokes across the drums is interspersed with a swank solo on keyboard. An upbeat tune, "In the Kitchen" pulls the plug on smooth, with raging trumpet and strong drumbeat, scathing sax and a mean piano roll. Each instrument is featured in its own outrageous solo.
"A Foolish Lament," written by Wilner, slows the tempo with a turn towards a bluesy feel. A softer trumpet flow combined with a deeper, sensual sax, brings the tune together with a slower drumbeat and a relaxed piano contribution.
Rebounding with Bright's moving "Sweet Pumpkin," the sax becomes smooth again, yet lively. Kisor's trumpet runs up and down the scale in perfect harmony with Mori's bass. The keyboard tripping, in fanciful delight, commands the listener's attention.
Kisor's "Calypso Cove" brings his trumpet into focus, smoothly, backed gently by the other members of the group before Clark's "Blue Minor" breaks out in swinging, intense trumpet runs, stealthy bass backing and intense drumming. Hendrickson-Smith moves in with a swaying sax groove accompanied by Wilner's exceptional piano strokes.
An appropriate ending, Wilner's "Joyful Abandon" sets in motion a perky horn run and a 'joyful' piano presentation.
Charles Ruggiero doesn't miss a beat on drums as he accompanies the horn section. His solo spots highlight his extreme talents, which he comes by naturally, since his father was a drummer with Philly Joe Jones. Kisor has played with the Mingus Dynasty and the Mingus Big Band.
Each member of this band shows his own exceptional ability to be adaptable; each gives an outrageous solo performance. Even those who think they don't care for hard bop will be amazed when they hear this album.