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Album Review

Horizons Quartet: Horizons Quartet


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Horizons Quartet: Horizons Quartet
Quite often it's not so much the music itself that compels you to sit and listen but the feeling the music stirs within. You begin to recall moments from the past that have made you feel of a certain place and time when things were just a bit more either out there or, as in the case of tenor/soprano saxophonist Dan Wilkins debut Horizons Quartet in a bit more safer, steadier space.

That's not to imply that the eight Wilkins' fueled compositions are going to lull you into somnolence or indifference. Just the contrary. These loose limbed compositions provide just enough kick, just enough engaging twists in logic and design, to keep you on your toes and following the music to its intended place.

Wilkins' multigenerational teammates—young and headstrong pianist James Collins and the veteran Philly rhythm section of bassist Gene Perla (Sarah Vaughan, Jimmy Cobb, Elvin Jones) and drummer Byron Landham (Betty Carter, Bobby Hutcherson, Cyrus Chestnut) break from the gate as a straight-ahead quartet making the most of the studio time. Like any classic quartet of yesterday, they begin their pursuit with a rousing, four for one and one for all take. "Spiraling" sounds like you've been dropped into a mid-afternoon session at Rudy Van Gelder's as Wilkins and Collins pursue the flame and Perla and Landham hold steady the ship.

Wilkins' tone may not be particularly fire breathing or definable at this young stage in his evolution but it's highly listenable and conversant. His soprano, a cool mix of old and new, lends lyrical aplomb to Collins' classic Rhodes on "The Blade's Proposition" and energetically darts between his bandmates on "Benediction of the Moon." Perla, who at 81 can still run rings around the competition and whose label, PM Records, has released this album, provides boundless bop and bounce, laying back or taking charge as the call comes in. So too Landham, whether flexing his considerable muscle on the opener or shading whisper and light on "Billow" or the closing "Kindling of the Phoenix." Horizons Quartet has something for everyone.

Track Listing

Sprialing; The Blade's Proposition; Marionettes; Benediction of the Moon; Billows; Get the Point; Gaia's Blessing; Kindling of the Phoenix.


Dan Wilkins: saxophone; Gene Perla: bass; Byron Landham: drums; James Collins: piano.

Album information

Title: Horizons Quartet | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: PM Records

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