Drummer Eric McPherson's auspicious recording debut as a leader is a crowning achievement for the former student of Jackie McLean (who also worked in the late alto saxophonist's band) and sideman of Andrew Hill. His band includes old friend Abraham Burton, a talented saxophonist with whom the drummer has played since childhood, bassists John Hebert and Dezron Douglas (heard jointly and individually), and pianist David Bryant. The two-part "3rio Suite" is a pianoless suite, featuring Burton's searching soprano sax and Hebert's droning arco bass complemented by McPherson's sensitive drumming. The exotic "Misako" is a quintet featuring one bassist playing arco and the other pizzicato, with Burton's lyrical flute playing in octave unison with the arco line. "Black Pearl" features Carla Cherry's spoken narrative, backed by the leader and Trevor Todd's droning yidaki (which sounds much like a didgeridoo). Shimrit Shoshan is on Fender Rhodes (replacing Bryant's piano) for the simmering rendition of McLean's "The Collective Expression." But it is Eric McPherson's engaging percussion that leaves the most lasting impression.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden