Byron Morris and Unity: Live! At the East Coast Jazz Festival

Morris is an alto saxophonist out of the Washington, DC, area who has been largely absent from the record scene over the last of decade, plying his craft as an architect while keenly observing the scene. For this live date he is joined by trumpeter Eddie Allen, trombonist Gerald Reid, pianist Bob Butta, bassist Pepe Gonzalez, and drummer Lenny Robinson. DC’s grand dame of Latin piano, the late lamented Maria Rodriguez, guests. Morris clearly spent some time in the woodshed for this date as his alto is crisp and pungent, bursting out of the various passages with a fervor reminiscent of Jackie McLean. Also of note is a swell arrangement of “Monk’s Mood,” curiously crafted by non-musician Powhattan Bradby, whose friendship helped spur Morris back to performing activity, where one hopes he finds new comfort zones.