1. What's It Gonna be?
2. Until the Sun Rises
3. No Way Jos‚
4. Dark Shadows
6. Soluble Aspirin
7. Smile Please
8. Teeth for Tooth
Quentin Collins - Trumpet, flugelhorn
Brandon Allen - Tenor sax
Ross Stanley - Organ
Enzo Zirilli - Drums
Ernesto Simpson - Percussion (tracks 3, 7)
Trevor Mires - Trombone (track 5)
Natalie Williams - Vocals (track 7)
This is the debut CD by a quartet which has actually been together for four years. They specialize in hard bop, and the album consists mainly of compositions by the two leaders, plu Stevie Wonder's Smile Please and the final track by drummer Enzo Zirelli. The group's line-up of trumpet, tenor sax, organ and drums is unusual but effective, with the organ and drums supplying propulsive rhythms while all four musicians play well-shaped solos.
The opening title-track is typical of the hard-driving mood of most tracks here, and the drummer swaps resourceful fours with the three other players. Until the Sun Rises starts with the organist capturing the glow of dawn, leading into a hint of Latin-American warmth. There is a stronger touch of Latin in No Way Jos‚, with Ernesto Simpson stoking the heat on bongoes. After powerful Blue Note-style solos from Quentin and Ross, Enzo adds a fine drum solo - building the track to a commanding climax.
The contrastingly slow Dark Shadows has Quentin playing with mournful introversion on muted trumpet, and Brandon's growling tenor equally emotive. The quartet makes good use of dramatic pauses. Trombonist Trevor Mires comes in to make a notable contribution to Unfinished.
The incomprehensibly-titled ballad Soluble Aspirin has Quentin's mellow trumpet almost resembling a flugelhorn, and Ross augmenting the relaxed feeling. Vocalist Natalie Williams guests on Stevie Wonder's Smile Please; its lyrics were clearer when Stevie performed the song on his album Fulfillingness' First Finale. Natalie singing "Bum-diddy-bum-bum" sounds peculiar, whereas it seemed natural when Stevie sang it. But Quentin, Brandon and Ross play worthwhile solos. Teeth for Tooth is loosely based on Tea for Two and has a nice bounce to it - in addition to a surprise ending.
So, all in all, a very promising album, with only one baffled complaint. Why do designers insist on printing album details on a black background, thus making them almost unreadable?