The quality of musicianship is high as the group performs the music of the masters - past and present - in today's bop-based mainstream style. Fabian contributes three compositions. The opening jazz rocker "The Wayshowers" contains tight ensemble passages and solos for all with Owens being particularly fiery. The more contemplative "Morning After" features Boiarsky while "Summerland," a tune of many moods, is the basis for a beautiful bowed bass solo. And note the interaction between Fabian and Longo! Owens pays tribute to past masters with his abstract "Dear Thaddeus and Roland" while Longo's original is the strong down-home "Abian Blues."
Fabian proves there is more than one way of presenting a ballad. He and Nash serve up a rhythmic and mesmerizing version of "Willow Weep for Me" while "My One and Only Love" combines his warm bowed sound with Longo's eloquent piano.
Then the cast takes a new look at the masters. More heat from Owens on Diz's "Bebop." A sparkling Longo solo on "Billie's Bounce." Boiarsky and Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon." The trio and Miles's "All Blues." Then the highlight, "Milestones," as Owens and Boiarsky let loose with extended solos and a series of exchanges that become increasingly intense, spurred on by Nash, Longo, and Fabian. Now that's the "zone."
No rehearsals. The players recorded live to two-track and most tunes are first takes. Fabian believes that a different level of music can be reached when musicians play "in the moment." The Masters Return! makes his point.