This is the debut recording of Jason Hainsworth as a leader, a young jazz educator, and tenor saxophonist who matriculated from William Patterson College and earned his graduate degree in jazz studies at Florida State University. The session is a strong mix of fresh arrangements of standards and originals, though Hainsworth's focus is on the sound of his big band rather than extensively featuring himself. Standards are always a good acid test of the skills of an arranger, and Hainsworth's peppy blend of Latin jazz and swing, with its tight ensembles and terrific interplay, make "I Concentrate on You" memorable. He teases the listener with a disguised introduction to the warhorse "Alone Together," highlighted by guest trumpeter Claudio Roditi's inspired muted trumpet and the leader's robust tenor. The originals show surprising maturity, starting with the foot-tapping, intricate "It's Right There," spotlighting Roditi and tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon. "Matriarch" is a warm jazz waltz written in honor of his mother, showcasing Tom Barber's rich flügelhorn. The sultry bossa nova "Marcilienne" honors the leader's wife, showcasing his lyrical tenor and Michael Dease on trombone. Jason Hainsworth's auspicious, initial CD is well worth investigating.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden