On his sophomore outing as a leader, bassist Andy McKee joins with vibraphonist Joe Locke, saxophonist Alex Foster, and drummer Idris Muhammad; Badal Roy and Milton Cardona trade off on percussion. The music is earthy and raw, with pronounced African and Latin elements and arresting instrumental colors, like Foster's piccolo on "Folk Song" or his bass clarinet meshing with Locke's marimba on "Ife's Dance." (Locke contributes one tune, "Accolades," in a dreamy 5/4.) There's a conceptual clarity to the record and it's reflected in the titles: the upbeat 12/8 "Finders Keepers" is followed a few tracks later by the dark, trippy 6/4 of "Losers Weepers." Similarly, the up-tempo, swinging "Fire Sign" is answered right away by another slow groove in six, "Earth Sign," which reprises the marvelous bass clarinet/marimba texture. Then comes levity, as the young Max McKee and a co-ed group of friends toss off an original ditty called "Deep in Boston." Inspired, the elder McKee then adapts the melody for his own folk-like composition, titled "Max Is Max." Pianist Kenny Werner comes on board to close the disc, framing McKee's sturdy, expressive arco on "Prayer," a pensive duet. Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by David R. Adler