This meeting of players and pens fronted by trombonist John Yao, trumpeter Jimmy Smith, and saxophonist James Hughes is more than a simple sextet date. It’s an extension of the enduring Detroit-New York jazz connection.
Smith and Hughes both hail from the Motor City area, where they co-lead a quintet that’s produced a number of strong dates. Yao belongs to the Big Apple, working with and leading bands both large and small there. The partnership between the three—strengthened here by the sturdily swinging rhythm section of pianist Corey Kendrick, bassist Jeff Pedraz, and drummer Nick Collins—is a thing of beauty.