Saxophonist and composer Walter Smith III is a busy man, playing with the likes of Terence Blanchard, Eric Harland, Ambrose Akinmusire's bands as well his own quintet. On this album, the quintet consists of: Smith on tenor saxophone, Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Aaron Goldberg on piano, Matt Brewer on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums. Opening up with "Blues" Smith improvises solo before the band kicks in featuring some nice, strong trumpet. After a rippling piano feature, Smith returns for a strong and dexterous uptempo solo. After a dexterous bass feature for Brewer the piano and drums return then framing an impressively restrained solo from Akinmusire. Smith then takes the reins and spools out an impressive lengthy solo of his own on "Aroca" and "Himorme." The group's version of Benny Golson's classic composition "Stablemates" recalls the turne's origins in The Jazztet, with Smith's strong saxophone building to a flurry of notes constructed on a bed of fine drumming. Goldberg gets the lions share of the solo space on "Shed" and uses it well, getting clearly articulated crystalline showers of notes from his instrument. This is a nice set of modern hard bop from a band of hungry young musicians looking to make their mark. Strong solos and supportive band play make this a successful album. Live In Paris - amazon.com
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