Steve Hobbs: Spring Cycle (2005)
All of Hobbs' compositions are catchy, memorable, and thoroughly enjoyable. The modal "Blued Swings," with its sophisticated interplay between Valentin and Harrell, is breezy. The lithe and lively melody line of "Spring Cycle" will stay in your mind long after the CD is over. Ditto for "Para Mis Padres," with its lovely and breathy flute melody. The originals by O'Connell are just as well crafted, coherently weaving in the solos as if they were part of the composition.
The driving "Crosswinds," strutting "Marionettes," and rhythm-shifting "Loon Lake" all fit into the mainstream category, with excellently defined solos provided by Harrell and Malach. The only potential indulgence regarding this record relates to the listener, who may want to put it on over and over.
Track Listing: Blued Swings; Spring Cycle; Rough and Ready; Para Mis Padres; On the Street Where You Live; Jean; Mr. PC; Loon Lake; Crosswinds; Marionettes.
Personnel: Steve Hobbs: vibraphone; Tom Harrell: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bob Malach: tenor saxophone; Dave Valentin: flute; Bill O'Connell: piano; Peter Washington: bass; John Riley: drums; Steve Berrios: percussion.
Record Label: Random Chance Records