Unified is tenor saxophonist Stan Killian's third album and his debut for the Sunnyside label. It's high-quality, straight-ahead modern jazz, played with a real swing by Killian and his band, and enlivened by the contributions of three top-drawer guest horn players.
Leader/composer Killian hails from Texas, home of Texas tenors like Arnett Cobb
share rhythm section duties. Whatever the combination of players, each of the quartets is impressive in its own right the rhythm playing of Gonzalez, Hunter and Holt that underpins Killian's lyrical solo on "Center" being particularly fine. The addition of a guest player to each of the numbers simply puts icing on the musical cake.
The three guest musicians on Unified are all bona fide stars of modern jazzand they more than repay Killian's invitation. Of the two trumpeters, Jeremy Pelt
and featuring excellent percussion from Greenthe pair swings beautifully, while on the hauntingly dreamlike "Unified," both saxophonists give controlled but emotionally engaging performances.
The guests on Unified all play beautifully, and their presence certainly attracts attention. But Killian's own contributions as lead musician/writer are stylish and engaging, and the core quartets on the album demonstrate their ability to stand alone as musical ensembles , just as the album title suggests.
Track Listing: Twin Dark Mirrors; Elvin's Sight; Unified; Center; Isosceles; Window Of Time; Eternal Return.