Playing without the benefit of a harmony instrument’s chordal support can be challenging for a horn player, but it also offers a lot more freedom for the musicians to stretch out and take the music into sometimes unexpected directions. Bradfield, Kupersmith and Sirota take full advantage of this extra freedom and have produced an album that is wonderfully engaging, expressing emotions that run the gamut from playful to introspective, from somber to ecstatic.
Bradfield, playing both tenor and soprano saxophones on this outing, produces a bold, warm tone. His solos are thoughtful and this technique is flawless. Kupersmith offers excellent support on bass, staying busy but not too busy. His motto seems to be "less is more". He also takes some very fine solos. Holding everything together and providing the propulsion for this dynamic group is Sirota on drums. His touch is light but fiery and he swings like crazy.
There are a total of ten tracks on this CD. Four are covers - Billy Strayhorn’s "Day Dream", Andrew Hill’s "Reconciliation", Randy Weston’s "Berkshire Blues" and the afore mentioned Rollins’ "Paul’s Pal". The remaining six tunes were all written by Bradfield. As a composer, he seems to favor simple melodies which quickly create a specific mood and then serve as perfect springboards for his soaring improvisational brilliance.
This CD is a great modern jazz album and would be a worthy addition to any jazzophile’s collection.