Arranger Ladd McIntosh's big band of 1991 is full of solo talent, technically skilled musicians, and players who are both distinctive and expert at blending together in ensembles. Performing a two-song medley, eight originals, and three standards, the band (which has three potential lead trumpeters) excels. The key soloists are pianist Geoff Stradling, trumpeter Bob Summers, Steve Fowler (taking a fluent flute solo on "The Woman with the Laughing Eyes"), trombonists Bruce Fowler and Eric Jorgensen, and all of the saxophonists. Cheryl Bentyne of the Manhattan Transfer takes a guest vocal on a surprisingly uptempo version of "The Masquerade Is Over." The music overall is conventional ("Pismo Gizmo" is the most adventurous selection) but of consistent high quality, swinging and a strong example of modern mainstream big-band writing.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow