Compositional excellence and superb improvising yield the winning edge here. The band launches the gala with "Tea with T," where bassist Dave Whitford sets matters in motion with a booming ostinato, followed by en endearing melody and Smith's mood-evoking bass clarinet lines. Otherwise, Smith and pianist Liam Noble weave in and out of the multifarious swing and bop pulses, amid a few tender moments interspersed throughout.
On "Upon Reflection," Smith conjures up lucid imagery of a late night jazz joint performance via his bluesy tenor sax phrasings dappled with subtle nuances. Within many passages, the band professes asymmetrical doses of grace and power, which is a notion transmitted by Smith's blithe soprano sax lines atop a buoyant mid-tempo swing during "Around We Go. The quartet generates the big knockout punch in spots and tempers the pitch when it makes sense. Hence, the ensemble spawns a tight-knit panorama, featuring perky bop grooves and torrid crescendos.
Smith skirts the free zone and seemingly battles drummer Winston Clifford for a rite of passage with the up-tempo, "On The Edge." To that end, the leader of this date presents a divergent track mix that alludes to a comprehensive program, sans any frills or gimmicks. Smith's qualitative music-making looms rather large among the hordes of jazz ensemble offerings that hit the streets on a regular basis.
Track Listing: Tea with T; Questions, questions; Upon Reflection; A Bird in the Hand (for Alex Hand); Around we go; Changes in Motion; On the edge; In shadow; Hybrid.
Personnel: Harrison Smith:tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet; Liam Noble: piano; Dave Whitford: bass; Winston Clifford: drums.
Record Label: 33 Jazz
Style: Modern Jazz
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