Larry Willis, piano; Phil Bowler, bass; Steve Davis, trombone; Eric McPherson, drums; Ray Mantilla, percussion; Matt Criscuolo, alto saxophone
A nicely breathless and vulnerable opening to the title track by Billy Strayhorn, played by the saxophone of Matt Crisuolo and the piano of Larry Willis. Six of the ten tracks are written by members of the band; three by Matt Criscuolo, two by trombonist Steve Davis and one by pianist Larry Willis. The piano of Willis often leads a new piece, in "Everything I have is Yours" his support is sensitive, often favoring a single melodic line in his solos. "Spirit Waltz" by Steve Davis opens with two minutes of drumming followed by a harmonic duet between trombone and saxophone. Davis plays a well toned trombone and does not hog the spotlight in his own piece. Matt Crisuolo writes busier tunes, "Julian's Pencil" scurries along with fine contributions all round. "Song for Kerry" is melodic and sensitive, sending the sax of Crisuolo exploring, he is often able to create a frail sound but is more full bodied in this piece; my favorite track.
by Ferdinand Maylin