To Be Again
To Be Again is a well-played, straightahead album by a group of mostly Wisconsin musicians (leader/saxophonist Curt Hanrahan's drummer brother, Warren, lives in Miami). The members of the ensemble are all very good hard-bop-oriented performers playing a varied and attractive program of tunes written and arranged by Wisconsin composer John Harmon, plus Juan Tizol's "Caravan" and the standard "There Is No Greater Love." Curt Hanrahan plays flexible, dark-toned tenor most of the time but on occasion plays alto or soprano (it's hard to tell whether or not it's a standard soprano because the middle register sounds very much like an oboe).
Curt and his brother are joined by Jamie Breiwick on trumpet and flugelhorn, Steve Lewandowski on guitar, Jim Dodke on piano, Carl Storniolo on vibes and percussion and Larry Tresp on bass. Although all the soloists demonstrate professional expertise, guitarist Lewandowski's confident surefootedness is especially impressive on lyrical Latins like the title song and "The Gift of Surrender" as well as on the medium-up and uptempo swingers that comprise the rest of the recording.