This is a Quartet of fine musicians that give that very hip and definable southern viewpoint to jazz artistry.
Jazz, particularly in Virginia / Maryland, has that added oomph and stylishness that gives it overdrive with a bit of charm and sweetness. Beguiling strength, one might say.
Steve Abshire is a bop inspired Guitarist that swings like one of the Soaring Simonetti's. His solos are well constructed gems. Abshire's melodic approach is both graceful and powerful. The listener never is subjected to 'musica interruptus'. His steadiness and easy swing satisfies the soul as we are so often wont to say.
John Jensen is reminiscent of Phil Ranelin's muscular style on the Trombone and is a fine addition to this ensemble.
Mike Shepherd has made history with this writer who seldom finds anything exciting about Drummers. Dizzy Gillespie more than once has said that the Drummer should 'embrace' the snare on ballads with a steady swoosh and leave the 2/4 for the hi-hat cymbals. Shepherd does exactly this and it enhances the soloist to the maximum degree. He is discreet, yet in being so, his message is made more profound. Mr Shepherd, I salute you, you are indeed a first class musician.
The Bass is the pulse of any group and Tommy Cecil's strong walking Bass is the straw that stirs this particular drink. His solos were introspective but exuded dynamism.
"Robbin's Nest" This is a great tune not often heard anymore. Nice swinging quality, Abshire's Guitar sets the pace with steady Drum backing and a fine 'bone solo. Interesting 8 bar exchanges between the Drums and Bass cap things off cleverly.
"Gee Baby Ain't I Good To You" Steve Abshire has a beautiful way of establishing the melody and here is no exception, his blues filled solo says it all. Shepherd keeps it elegantly simple. A plaintiveness is omnipresent in this glorious piece.
A jaunty version of "It's You Or No One" opens with the Trombone grooving and the Guitar moving on this nicely paced tune.
"I Only Have Eyes For You" Again a melodious mood and Mike Shepherd nails it with great brush work.
"I Won't Dance" More slick Trombone and Guitar trickery. Solid solo by Jensen behind the fine comping of Abshire.
This is jazz at its very best. I sure dug it, you will too.