Pianist/composer Steve Colson has worked with saxophonists Henry Threadgill, and Branford Marsalis among other modern jazz luminaries. And he’s a notable educator. The pianist is also comfortable slipping in and out of avant-garde scenarios to complement his ambitious forays into chamber and symphonic elements. Here, along with his vocalist and wife Iqua Colson, they lead a relatively mainstream, jazz quintet date. However, the message transmitted during this affable production is rooted within a distinct sense of warmth and musical bonding.
Ms Colson’s vocalizations might spark remembrances of the late, great Betty Carter, as she possesses a full-bodied tone, awash with passion and glee. Saxophonist T.K. Blue often accents the vocalist’s lyrically rich attack, while everyone receives ample soloing spots. But it’s not a hard-edged blowing session. The musicians work thru various colorations atop Latin pulses, medium-tempo swing vamps, a jazz waltz and intermittent doses of the blues. All within a modern jazz based setting. Moreover, Steve Colson conveys a physical approach to the piano, often tempered by spacious chord voicings and a penchant for re-phrasing a given melody.
Ms Colson’s balladry on "Regina’s Lament," is marked by a robust and warmhearted delivery. Essentially, she provides a wide-spectrum of sound in concert with the musicians’ complementary support. At the end of the day, the music presented here, serves as an uplifting testament to the human spirit. (Strongly recommended.... )