This is a strong compositional and performance calling card for New York City-based pianist Serrato and his trio, bassist Hill Green, and conga player Henry Morales. From the musical landscape glimpsed in the evocative "Urbanicity," it is apparent that Serrato has full command of his instrument. The busy and hip picture painted here sets the tone for the nine pieces that follow it. Following the lush "No Return," the pianist and his mates lash into the percussive "Flashback," on which Hill unleashes dazzling arco work and Morales serves as driving force with Serrato weaving elements of Michel Camilo and Chucho Valdes into his riveting performance.
With Green’s arco sounding as sonorous as a cello and serving as intro, "Kroma" shifts in tempo and timbre. Serrato lays back more here than elsewhere, giving his band mates more room for stretching. "Nighthawks" is a standout. A bluesy piece with a dramatic flair, it is one that impresses for its deep reservoir of ideas and exquisite touch.
"Samba Cuisani" has the sweep of a cinematic piece, while "Fantasia" steps out of character with Serrato playing a Roland that sounds at times like a toy piano awash in a sea of muted electronics. The closing "Traces" reminds of Bill Evans at times, though with more swing.
Serrato has been playing professionally since the 1960s. He is well regarded among the cognoscenti, but his reputation is not as broad as it deserves to be. He is simply a monster player with chops to spare. Very highly recommended fans of superb, adventurous piano.