Branford Marsalis' second album as a leader followed his first by three years, and he had grown a lot in the interim. He had switched permanently to tenor (doubling on soprano), left his brother Wynton's group, toured with Sting, and begun heading his own group. Although using quartets on each of the seven selections, Marsalis varies the personnel quite a bit, utilizing pianists Ellis Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Larry Willis, and Herbie Hancock; bassists Ron Carter, Charnett Moffett, and Ira Coleman; and drummers Ralph Peterson, Al Foster, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, and Jeff Watts. One of Branford's more playful albums, the repertoire includes a tribute of sorts to his native New Orleans on "Royal Garden Blues" plus "Strike Up the Band" and then-recent originals. An excellent outing.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow