The opener, Thank You Billy Higgins
, is a joyful, swinging celebration of the late drum great. Wilson plays a wonderful solo that dances. Swimming In Trees
is a quirky little tune filled with rhythmic changes, squawks & squeaks, and a deliciously loopy mid-Eastern swing. Free Willy
is a nice little boppish tune that builds in intensity. Both horns demonstrate themselves to be able soloists. Inoue’s bass is solid and swinging, holding together the Quartet’s wilder moments.Wall Shadows
is a very touching ballad featuring both clarinet and bass clarinet. Their dark, woody tones lend an air of mournfulness. Inoue’s bass is outstanding. Raga
starts with children’s handbells playing a melody in the background. D’Angelo blows a relaxed alto solo while Wilson punctuates things with gongs and percussion. The pace picks up as Wilson moves to a small hand drum, keeping the mid-Eastern feel.
I was fortunate enough to see the Quartet live a while back and they deliver one of the swingingest and most energetic shows around. They can play with humor, sensitivity, grace, and yet rock out
when needed. Catch them live if you can and check out this CD.