His generally straight ahead approach has some interesting curves, particularly when he takes a Celtic turn on cuts like "Running The Border." Coughlin's sound and style, especially on the opener, "Orange Blossoms," and the title track, is sometimes reminiscient of vintage Charles Lloyd, but there's little here that is blatantly imitative. While he stands rooted firmly in jazz traditions, Coughlin has a fresh and distinctive approach both to his horn and his writing.
He's joined by a quartet that includes three other vetrans of the Baltimore/DC jazz circuit. Drummer Mike Kuhl and bassist Jeff Reed provide a level of rhythmic support that any leader could envy, and guitarist Michael Raitzyk shines whenever Coughlin hands off the lead.
Altogether, When Afternoons Return is an outstanding debut by an artist who deserves to be heard well beyond his hometown. If you're not planning a visit to Baltimore in the near future, this disc provides a listening opportunity without geographical limitations.