Tenor saxophonist Bill Barron (brother of pianist Kenny, I’m reasonably sure) was one of those "lost" jazz players: a fine musician who made several splashes under his own name and with Cecil Taylor, Ted Curson and Philly Joe Jones before becoming a music educator (he was Music Director at Wesleyan University in CT). Barron made a recording comeback in the mid-80s but passed away in 1989. All of which makes this previously unissued set of live performances from ’85 all the more valuable. Barron had a real nice sound: classic hard-bop tenor (think Johnny Griffin, 50s Coltrane) but he was also very receptive to the avant-free innovations but always had a rollicking, accessible blues element going. This disc collects performances with a fine band: everybody gives a fine showing (though pianist Fred Simmons does ramble a bit, albeit very lyrically) but aside from Barron’s fine showing (and he was not exactly over-recorded in his lifetime), what makes this a real find is the work of Ed Blackwell and Wes Brown. The former is crisp, exciting, economical, and a virtual melodist on the drums - no bebop clichés for him, nossir - who’s uniquely propulsive New Orleans roots shine within. Wes Brown plays acoustic bass, but has such a hard, funky THUMP to his sound I’d thought it was an electric model. There’s nothing earth-shattering composition- or arrangement-wise here, just some solid, surging hard-bop with some brief "free" passages. The recording quality is excellent too. As a bonus, vibist Jay Hoggard lends his elegant sound to one track (the spontaneous "Waiting For You").