The Mike Murley Quintet has been together for over ten years, and this is its fourth release as a group. Murley leads some of the finest musicians anywhere, and they are all Canadian. Their music is outstanding too, which makes any release worth salivating for. It is a moot point to say that each outing finds them in a more compact groove, but the ease with which they understand each other helps create an atmosphere where they can pick the thread and continue giving it cohesive direction.
The chemistry in the band becomes immediately apparent on "Creature of Habit." Murley and Restivo lock in conversation, setting the tone for Murley on tenor and a gently swinging journey that changes shape and course, a takeoff point for MacLeod, whose flugelhorn brings in a luminous resolution that is picked by Restivo, who then creates a wellspring of his own.
There is quite nothing quite like a deep, warm ballad to light a glow. Murley fills "Santiago Reflections" with intense feeling, his structure detailed and shorn of excessand with Jim Vivian on bass creating moments of subtle charm, this one makes a strong impact. The pulse perks up when they get "Extra Time" with Murley on the soprano. He is lithe and lean, a hint of New Orleans rising into the atmosphere, urged on by Ted Warren, and then the spell churned onward by Restivo, whose ministrations inject another dose of sparkle. Enjoy!