Balancing his teaching career at Lafayette with jazz gigs in his home area of eastern Pennsylvania, Wilkins formed the group five years ago. The quintet was featured in a Volume I release two years ago. The cuts here are from the same session. The style is solid straight-ahead, many numbers on the contemplative side.
Wilkins plays piano, Paul Kendall, tenor sax, Tom Kozik, guitar, Tony Marino, bass, and Gary Rissmiller, drums. Most tracks are seven to ten minutes long. Democratically, each musician gets equal solo time, ample opportunity to stretch out. The highly-rated Rissmiller particularly shines throughout, knitting the group together, embellishing each tune with his tasty touches on drums.
Some stand outs--"Used to Me" features Kozik’s relaxed guitar and Marino’s soft bass. On "Not Perfect," Wilkins' jaunty piano introduces the tune, and Kendall’s soft sax effectively builds to a strong climax, blending with piano and guitar for a delicate, pensive finish.
Wilkins shows Bill Evans’ influence, stretching out for his strongest improvising in "Fortuitous Fifteen," a guitar-piano collaboration. "Hold Me," Wilkins' remembrance of 9/11, starts starkly, making way for Kendall’s haunting sax solo. The piano provides a moving coda, concluding a very fine album.