Kenny Rittenhouse: The Francis Suite

This sextet album flies out of the gate in a hard-edged post-bop groove, burning with both power and soul. Rittenhouse’s trumpet work is solid, cutting and just a little raw in the up-tempo numbers, while the slower tracks have a comfortable, gliding ambience that is also appealing. Although the initial impact fades as the set drifts into more lightweight fare, and some of the standards feel forced, the disc’s joie de vivre is undeniable and infectious.