With Bill Carrothers providing an adventurous piano accompaniment, Ira Sullivan converses with the spirits. On soprano sax for all but one selection, the veteran leader creates a soulful session filled with respect for the ballad and a healthy dose of lyrical drama. It's what the "After Hours" sessions are all about. Recorded in 1996 and '98, these particular tracks were laid down after several three night stands at the Artists' Quarter in Minneapolis. Performed literally after hours, the sessions gather momentum from an evening gig and take that spirit into the wee, small hours of the morning. The band is pumped. Pumped up on standards.
"Day by Day" and Sullivan's "Monday's Dance" waltz comfortably in three. The quartet speaks as one. With their voices interwoven, the veterans trade and stretch out on their own. Billy Peterson strokes an expressive message, while drummer Kenny Horst drives with crisp power. Together, they offer Sullivan strong support. His quirky, up-tempo arrangement of "Ira's Blues" reflects the leader's swinging Chicago adolescence and powerful hard bop development alongside Art Blakey, Roland Kirk, Charlie Parker, Red Rodney, and others. Ending with an exotic "Key Largo," the quartet takes on a hazy, mysterious air to welcome the dawn and remind the listener that some things are worth waiting up for.
Personnel: Ira Sullivan- soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone on "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most;" Bill Carrothers- piano; Billy Peterson- bass; Kenny Horst- drums; Bobby Peterson- piano on "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" and "Day by Day."