Wee Zee. Nice start. Driving bass, rocking drum beat and an aggressive head. Then, a gymnastic and restless solo from bassist and leader Michael Ross. I like it. Here comes David Pate’s soprano, with Dave Liebman-like ferocity and agility, with the Ross dropping out mid-solo to allow a duo blowout from Pate and drummer Walt Hubbard. Finally, LaRue Nickelson’s overdriven and explorative solo reminds me of Kevin Eubanks’ fine work when he was in Dave Holland’s quartet with Steve Coleman and Marvin "Smitty" Smith.
Nickelson sets a more mellow mood with some nice steel-string acoustic guitar work on the intro to "Nadja." Ross states the first part of the melody, and Pate comes in with a Dewey Redman-ish complement before the guitar solo makes me think even more about Pat Metheny’s "80/81" recording. Tasty stuff.
Other fine tracks on this introduction (for me) to this intriguing Florida-based quartet include "A Jew’s Blues," an unusual fifteen-bar blues that has a Blue Note mood, "Spherical," which allows Hubbard to show off his big ears in how he underscores the soloists, and the rocking closer, "Battling Levinsky," which features an the ominous bass clarinet of Pate over an ostinato pattern set by the rhythm section.