Alto saxophonist Dmitry Baevsky is one musician who avoids the original-heavy CDs of many recent jazz program graduates, instead preferring to explore infrequently played gems by jazz greats from a variety of styles. His third CD as a leader features him backed by several of the most in-demand sideman in New York: pianist David Hazeltine, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist John Webber, plus young drummer Jason Brown (who appeared on Baevsky's debut CD). His brisk opener is Cedar Walton's infectious "Ojos de Rojo," a delicious blend of Latin rhythm and hard bop. Duke Pearson is an unjustly neglected composer, so Baevsky's exploration of his easygoing "Gaslight" is most welcome. Horace Silver's "To Whom It May Concern" features the leader and Bernstein playing in unison and superb soloing by the guitarist. Duke Ellington's "Self-Portrait of the Bean" was likely intended as a one-off recording for his small-group date with Coleman Hawkins (whom the song honors); Baevsky's alto is rhapsodic in its own way without trying to duplicate Hawkins' matchless sound on tenor. Tadd Dameron is yet another composer who doesn't get due attention, Baevsky's snappy take of this tricky bop gem features his darting alto. If that's not enough variety, Baevsky concludes with an enthusiastic treatment of Ornette Coleman's blues "Tears Inside." Dmitry Baevsky reminds jazz fans of what they may have missed by overlooking the contributions of past greats.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden