Stan Killian: Unified

Tenor saxophonist and composer Stan Killian surrounds himself with heavyweight talent on his auspicious debut as a leader. Possessing a full-bodied tone and a macho solo style, Killian swings hard on the opener, “Twin Dark Mirrors,” and is aided by guest trumpeter Roy Hargrove. “Elvin’s Sight,” composed by the group’s superb pianist, Benito Gonzalez, carries an “Afro Blue” 12/8 clave feel which Killian digs into with Trane-inspired intensity. Guest David Binney adds a potent alto solo here that captures the searching spirit of the piece. On the moving title ballad, Binney and Killian blend beautiful harmony lines before engaging in freewheeling simultaneous improvisations. Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt guests on the buoyant 5/4 number “Center”; Killian kills it on the modal burner “Isosceles,” which also features scorching solos from Hargrove and Gonzalez; and Pelt returns for some bravura high-note statements on the swinging closer, “Eternal Return.” An outstanding first encounter.