Recorded in Toronto, this is the seventh album since 1987 by Canadian saxophonist Mike Murley, who has since gathered a reputation as an influential musician. He has previously recorded with several of the members of this current quintet.
The seven originals presented here provide a look at this post-bop quintet with the two horns plus rhythm section giving a standard group configuration. The compositions are all serviceable but are secondary to the blowing time particularly of Murley and MacLeod. The album opens with a sprightly "Creature of Habit." After solos by all hands, there is just a pinch of dissonance from trumpeter MacLeod in the closing moments as he plays counter melody to Murley's tenor sax.
Any outside jazz tendencies remain dormant for about an hour until the closing number, "The Split 2," which starts out with MacLeod's trumpet going through a series of free jazz squeals. This is contrasted with bassist Vivian's arco melody statement. Murley then enters playing in a more aggressive style than heard on the remainder of this session, while drummer Ted Warren turns up the heat by playing much more percussively for this piece.
There are two ballads on the album, "Santiago Reflections" and "Open Segment," which is a feature for MacLeod who plays it straightforwardly. The other tunes offer mid and up-tempo pacing to provide improvisation time for the horns and piano. Murley seems to be influenced by Wayne Shorter in his Blue Note period, while MacLeod's work recalls a non-vibrato style of Kenny Wheeler or Dave Douglas.
Track Listing: Creature of Habit, Santiago Reflections, Particularity, Good Lucknow, Extra Time, Open Segment, The Split 2.
Personnel: Mike Murley, tenor and soprano sax; John MacLeod, flugelhorn and trumpet; Dave Restivo,piano; Jim Vivian, bass; Ted Warren, drums.