Sadao Watanabe has been disappointing on more than a few occasions. In fact, some of his more commercial, radio-oriented efforts have been quite forgettable. But when he's playing from the heart instead of pandering to commercial radio, Watanabe can be captivating. An adventurous "inside/outside" post-bop date employing Chick Corea (acoustic & electric piano), Miroslav Vitous (upright bass), and Jack De Johnette (drums), Round Trip is one of his finest accomplishments. There's nothing even remotely predictable about this CD, which ranges from the Celtic-influenced, Weather Report-ish "Pastoral" to the contemplative "Nostalgia" to the insistent, 20-minute "Round Trip: Going and Coming." Best known for his Charlie Parker-influenced alto playing, an especially inspired Watanabe sticks to the soprano sax and flute this time.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson