Most of this 1995 CD reissue of music originally put out by the Japanese Somethin' Else label features pianist Ellis Marsalis heading a quintet also including both Tony Dagradi and Rick Margitza on tenors, bassist Bill Huntington and drummer David Lee Jr. The group performs four originals (including "Nothin' But the Blues" and "Some Monk Funk") and the standard "The Very Thought of You." Dagradi and Margitza make for a complementary and at times competitive team. Two others songs ("I Can't Get Started" and a lengthy "Night In Tunisia") find Donald Harrison (on tenor) making the band a sextet (all three tenors solo on the latter tune). A special highlight is "Jitterbug," which has Art Blakey sitting in on drums and 15-year old (!) trumpeter Nicholas Payton sounding fine on his recording debut. A strong set of hard bop-oriented music.
A Night at Snug Harbor, New Orleans Review
by Scott Yanow