Bassist/composer, Sean Smith has been the accompanist of choice for vocalists, Mark Murphy, Rosemary Clooney and Peggy Lee while also performing with saxophonist, Lee Konitz, and a host of others. However, Smith also shines as a thoughtful bandleader and composer, evidenced here on his second group led recording.
On this release, pianist, Bill Charlap, and guitarist, Keith Ganz contribute their able talents to selected tracks, whereas the core band features, Smith, alto saxophonist, Allen Mezquida, and drummer, Russell Meissner. In addition, this outing was recorded using the “Sony” Corporation’s new “Direct Stream Digital” technology. Essentially, this effort is all about warmly stated lines atop buoyantly executed mid-tempo swing vamps on pieces such as “Hook, Line and Sinker,” and “Tropical Depression.” Overall, Smith maintains a solid yet fluid flow, while Mezquida generally establishes the melodies via his gingerly rendered yet often-peppery choruses. With “Short Ballad,” Charlap provides a bit of depth thanks to his sympathetic interpretation of the composition while also dispensing a little breathing room for Smith to stretch his wares. Meanwhile, Ganz’s dark toned electric guitar phraseology on “Hugging The Edges,” is topped off by Mezquida’s breezy lines; although, Meissner effectively staggers the flow with offbeat measures and delicate accents. No doubt, this band surges forward with a noticeable degree of self-assurance and refinement. Hence, the title of this production provides credence to the musicians’ articulate interplay and tightly integrated approach. Recommended