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David Borgo, who is a jazz educator at the university level, emits a relaxed, breathy tone from his tenor saxophone to give his improvisations a lilting quality. He plays with groups ranging from trio to sextet on this multi-hued recording comprised mostly of his compositions. Borgo has the history of the music down pat; his tunes offer a flavoring of post-bop structure, but he steers the bands unerringly into the current era through his gliding improvising style and tune construction.
Sam Wilson weaves delicate guitar strains into the pattern on six of the cuts to provide a softened balance between the flurries oozing from Borgo’s horns. Wilson makes a solid contribution with his advanced concepts as he dances over the strings adding an intimate touch to the tunes. On four of the selections with Wilson also on board, trumpeter John D’Earth puts sparkle into play. He and Borgo take off on a dual mission while Wilson smoothes the path as the rhythm guitarist; then Wilson joins the improvising fun with rounds of his own.
Drummer Mark Ferber keeps the solid time on all selections. He and either bassist Pete Spar or Roberto Miranda underpin the program that stays mainly inside but does occasional flirting with the liberated side.
Two jazz standards are featured. Mingus’s “Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love” gets a romantic reading from a typical Mingus-style three-horn front line, which includes trombonist Alan Ferber. Borgo and Ferber then jump into the quartet mode doing Dave Holland’s classic “Conference of the Birds.” Borgo switches to soprano saxophone, which neatly blends with the frictionless tones from Ferber’s trombone. One other configuration is offered. Borgo joins with alto saxophonist David Pope on the swinging Pope original “Pomodori,” which opens up to a wild, merry chase as both reed players blow with enthusiasm.
Borgo offers a varied palette on this recording. He touches on the past, teases with the future, but mainly speaks in the present tense. The assorted groupings yield diversified but consistently appealing music having tangibility without sacrificing challenge.