Onaje Allan Gumbs: Remember Their Innocence

Remember Their Innocence goes in so many directions you need a road map to simply listen to it. Unfortunately half of the destinations it reaches aren’t worth visiting. Onaje Allan Gumbs is a quality pianist who proves his mainstream-modern mettle on a handful of the album’s small-group tracks that highlight his robust improvising alongside a tough rhythm section-as well as such hearty soloists as saxophonist Roger Byam and trumpeter Eddie Allen. The intensity of those tracks diminishes when interspersed with lite jazz, vocal ditties, watery bossa nova and spoken-word forays. It’s a shame since Gumbs, whose last album, Return to Form, displayed his undiminished strengths as a modal-bop soloist, has been around too long to be suffering from an identity crisis at this point in his career.