Saxophonist/composer/educator Tim O'Dell exhibits strong compositional attributes on this 2001 release. Not content to skirt the safe and narrow, the artist fuses hard-boiled swing and bop-style proclamations with craftily executed alterations in flow and momentum. Here, the quintet perpetuates modern jazz improvisational tactics, further enhanced by the leader's lightning quick and sinewy lines whether performing on soprano or alto saxophone. On many of these pieces, electric guitarist Steve Grismore provides the edge or turns up the heat when called upon, as O'Dell's compositions boast a hodgepodge of disparate elements such as African tom fills atop ostinato basslines, rock, diversionary interludes, affable melodies, and swaggering blues motifs. Another point of interest resides within O'Dell's utilization of two drummers, performing concurrently. Simply stated, Before My Life provides the modern jazz aficionado with a hearty mix, supplemented by the revved-up ensemble's bountiful and pungent soloing.
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AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita
feat: Tatsu Aoki
feat: Ryan Shultz