This is an enjoyable album of first-class modern bebop. Trumpeter Smith, who, according to Mark Gardner’s CD notes, has been recording for SteepleChase for 22 years, is a refined player who combines the jubilant flourish of Clifford Brown with the straightforward lyricism of Kenny Dorham-the trumpeter he most resembles stylistically. Smith has a pleasant, compact tone and an ample reservoir of ideas. Former Thelonious Monk saxophone competition winner Jon Gordon blows Bird-inflected alto, although his concept, while undeniably hot, is overall more serene, less incendiary than Parker’s.
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