Byron Stripling is a confident trumpeter who is unafraid of being compared to earlier greats on his instrument; he delves into time-tested standards of the swing era as well as the music of Dizzy Gillespie, yet produces a fresh approach in every case. With pianist Bill Charlap, drummer Dennis Mackrel, either Peter Washington or Ira Coleman on bass, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, and tenor saxophonist Frank Wess joining him, Stripling's lively playing is a delight throughout the sessions. His spirited interplay with Gordon on the strutting opener, "(Back Home Again In) Indiana," and a bluesy exchange of solos with Wess in "Lover Man" are both gems. Fellow trumpeter Michael P. Mossman arranged both Gillespie's "Con Alma" and "Woody 'n You," and Stripling makes the most of his good friend's imaginative charts. The trumpeter also contributes two potent originals, the Basie-like swinger "Frank's Magic" (with a wide-ranging solo by Wess) and the low-key "Byron, Get One Free," which focuses on his tasty muted horn. Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden