Drummer Michael Benedict delighted hard-bop fans last year with his crack quintet’s self-titled debut. They’re back with baritone sax powerhouse Gary Smulyan augmenting the lineup, making this a scintillating sextet session. They come out smoking on Sonny Stitt’s “The Eternal Triangle,” with Smulyan’s blistering bari in a high-speed chase with Bruce Barth’s piano, Brian Patneaude’s tenor sax and Chris Pasin’s trumpet. And there’s more vintage Blue Note heat to come: traded eights in classic hard-bop fashion, and Benedict mixing it up with Barth at the tag.
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