In his groups, drummer Danny D'Imperio has successfully revived the hard bop of the 1950s and '60s, not just the style but also bringing back to life both standards and obscurities from the era. Other than "Theme for Ernie" (a previously unissued number from a 1994 date), all of the music on this Sackville CD is from August 19-20, 1996. The instrumentation ranges from a three-horn sextet to a nonet (with up to four saxophonists and a conga player). Among the key players are Greg Gisbert and/or Andy Gravish on trumpet, altoist Gary Pribeck, tenor saxophonist Ralph Lalama, and pianist Hod O'Brien. D'Imperio's impressive group performs tunes by J.J. Johnson (including his lesser-known "Sidewinder," which has no relation to Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder"), Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter ("One by One"), Neal Hefti, Wes Montgomery, Hoagy Carmichael ("Skylark"), Gigi Gryce, Barry Harris, and Dizzy Gillespie -- quite a strong group of composers. Although playing in the hard bop tradition, D'Imperio and his musicians are creative within its boundaries and their interpretations are both swinging and fresh.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow