Jon Gordon has emerged into one of the most promising saxophonists of his generation, a solid player in the mold of Phil Woods, with whom he studied in his teens. After winning the 1996 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition, he taped this session (his third for Criss Cross) with pianist Kevin Hays, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Billy Drummond. He captures the fire within Joe Henderson's "Inner Urge" and the playfulness of Monk's "Friday the 13th," while a pianoless version of "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" simmers to perfection. He switches to soprano sax for his eerie "Vale," joined by the young tenor saxophonist Mark Turner. Gordon's formidable talent makes it seem odd that the major labels haven't already signed him.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden