Tenor saxophonist Dan St. Marseille says he named this album Departure because it deffers from his previous releases. Known for his cool-school outings, he makes a credible conversion here to minor-flavored modal jazz.
St. Marseille delivers Wayne Shorter's "Pinocchio" with fervent intensity, then shifts to a lushly lyrical reading of Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now." His angular approach radiates energy on both "Leila in Blue" and "Helen."
The quartet's unfailingly strong groove, featuring pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Henry Franklin and drummer Carl Burnett, is best showcased on Tom Harrell's complex "Little Dancer." Both Franklin's "Little Miss Laurie" and the Ray Noble oldie, "The Touch of Your Lips," are delivered in a Latin mood. A bonus is congero Poncho Sanchez guest spot on the infectious "Guapa." St. Marseille's departure is a convincing musical migration.