Working with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Victor Lewis on a straight-ahead jazz session would be a real treat for anyone. It turns out to be especially fruitful for tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm, who delivers this program of standards and originals with an artist's delicate touch. The proud owner of a rich, luxurious tone, the saxophonist interprets ballads, blues and up-tempo romps with clarity while swinging in a rhythmic groove when the situation permits. He and this stellar trio are equally at ease with tender ballads such as "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most, "My Ideal and Barron's "Song for Abdullah as they are with quick burners such as Frahm's exotic "Jobimiola and his adventurous "A Whole New You.
Barron was one of Frahm's teachers at Rutgers University and the thirty-something saxophonist and 63-year-old pianist share a love for lyrical themes and cool melodies on this program. On Frahm's dramatic "Nad Noord, the scene shifts suite-like, taking the ensemble higher and higher. With a crisp, extended drum solo serving as its centerpiece, the song depicts a tango-like aura that causes emotions to swell. Elsewhere, the landscape appears dotted with lush greenery and flowing rivers that sing their praises to this saxophone star.
Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone; Kenny Barron: piano; Rufus Reid: bass; Victor Lewis: drums.