The Jazz Lab at the University of North Texas has produced many accomplished players and composers. Four different small jazz groups made up of students are featured in this compilation. Pianist and composer Ji-Young Lee leads a sextet through her two impressive originals. "I Wish I Could Remember" is an infectious ballad that showcases its composer, tenor saxophonist Clay Pritchard, and guitarist Paul Orbell. "AWJ" is a challenging post-bop chart that fuels fine solos by alto saxophonist Brian Donohue, bassist Danny Stone, and drummer Kevin Congleton. Drummer Jon Dettemyer penned "Everything in Life Should Be This Easy," an intense cooker that also features bassist Daniel Foose and pianist Matt Lawless. The lyrical arrangement of "I Loves You, Porgy" is very refreshing. The trio led by guitarist Chris Green includes Foose on bass with Chris Hill on drums; their set is highlighted by Green's richly textured "Blossoming." The fourth group, with keyboardist Jangeun Bae, tenor saxophonist Murray James Morrison, electric bassist Michael League, and drummer Ross Pederson, deserves to draw critical acclaim for Bae's smoldering cooker "It Is Too Good to Be True." From sampling this anthology of student musicians, it is clear why the University of North Texas is considered to have one of the best jazz programs. The sales of this excellent CD, available through www.unt.edu/jazz, benefits scholarships and activities of the university's jazz program.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden