Lawrence’s playing demonstrates his years of training and professional experience. His musical ideas while improvising are devoid of clichés that overly indebt him to any one particular player, have depth of intensity and are quite profound. The sidemen on this record date likewise exemplify very high levels of musicianship. Drummer George Fludas drives the ensemble with metronome like precision and guitarist Ray Macchiarola lays down some great improvised ideas of his own. Organist Dan Trudell not only solos well, but also provides background accompaniment that at times gives the listener an impression that saxophonist Lawrence is being backed up by a 20-piece big band.
It is difficult to identify a "stand out" composition or performance on the CD. All the tunes are very even in quality of musicality and expression. There are no flashy "bells and whistles" or anything that is experimental or treading on "the outside" on this CD. Street Wise is just four musicians creating great gut level, soulful, swinging hard bop that digs in with abandon. If anything is a standout, it is the quality of the ensemble playing. This very tight knit group makes Street Wise a veritable clinic on how to jell as a quartet. For those who love great burning straight ahead soulful hard bop, this recording is a highly recommended addition to a jazz CD collection.