Tenor saxophonist Karl Denson has made a name for himself playing acid jazz and funk, but his fans will be surprised by this early effort. Blackened Red Snapper features Denson playing hard bop in a quintet/sextet, sounding quite comfortable in the world of straight-ahead jazz. Although most of the selections are group originals, the chord changes are fairly common (including some that are blues-oriented or augmented blues) and Denson (heard on tenor, alto, and soprano) matches well with trumpeter Ron Stout and a couple different rhythm sections. It was almost as if Karl Denson wanted to prove to the world that he could play this style of music before he switched to funkier grooves; he succeeded. Recommended.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow