Here is the best kind of nostalgia. Steve Million has love for the past, both styles and musicians. (He clearly loves Monk, as some tracks make clear.) But you get no re-creations, no copycat tone - that would be the easy way. No, these are originals, written and played the old-fashioned way. Not easy, by any means - and, in the best moments, it sparkles.
"Right Place" starts with laughing and then quotes. We hear "Crepuscule with Nellie" and then a curious line, progressing at odd turns. It's Monkish all right, and so's the piano behind Randy Brecker. He uses this style often, but we get others: lazy romance on "Truth Is.... " (love Dick Oatts' midnight sax), classical elegance from "Perfectly Spaced". The tunes are well-formed, noteworthy themes, plus lots of solo space. (Brecker is choice on "Toni Town".) There's no showing off; just a man with ambitious goals who achieves them all. The breadth is amazing, the performances an understated jolt - truth is, Steve packs a million thrills.