This sextet cuts through the muck and generally gets to the point with a sense of urgency. With bassist Gregg August’s second outing as a leader, matters get out of the gate amid sizzling and snazzy little big band type horns arrangements. Conservatory trained to include stints with Latin-jazz legends, saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and percussionist Ray Barretto, the leader of this date transforms his varied experience into a distinct stylization here.
August shines as a formidable arranger, composer and technician throughout this vibrant endeavor, marked with a forward-moving, no looking back impetus. His booming bass lines steer the ship through variable currents and flows, often accelerated by the hornists’ punchy phrasings to complement an abundance of interconnecting subtleties.
On the comp titled "Nastissimo," the band whirls through circular unison patterns, where August’s fluid bass lines pronounce a rite of passage for a feisty Latin-jazz romp. But he tempers the tide during the melodically engaging "One for Louis," accelerated by trumpeter John Bailey’s soaring solo. Nonetheless, the sextet mixes it up rather heartily via high-flying bop choruses that are occasionally offset with a few tender moments. In sum, August and his band dish out a combination of fire, grace and passion on this gem of a date that is one of those records you can’t wait to tell your friends about. (A belated top pick for 2007).