For his seventh Reservoir disc, pianist Schneiderman has assembled a quintet that takes on a distinct Jazz Messengers persona. Trumpeter Brian Lynch and baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan supply a rich wellspring of swing and flowing ideas, while bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Billy Hart simply cannot be topped in their rhythmic supremacy. The leader wrote six of the eight pieces, all with a mysterious, perhaps coincidental correlation. Of the two standards, the quick bossa title track and the up and swinging "I Hear a Rhapsody" has Smulyan leading, Lynch following on the former, the opposite arrangement on the latter. They don't play in unison. The newest sounding piece is "Oval Essence," a bluesy bop number sounding like Lee Morgan and Pepper Adams have been exhumed to team up, with Schneiderman exuding a little Bud Powell flair. "Broken Dreams" is the prettiest tune, with the horns playing their best solos. They dig into a unison line for "Late Breakthrough," based on the changes of "Sweet Georgia Brown" with a Bird-like bridge copped from half of "Now's the Time." Strutting, swaggering, even staggering melody accents the funky bass-led "Have You Heard?" while the closer is a 12-minute loping blues workout titled "Oblivious," where the two hormnen trade counterpointed lines. The album would benefit from more of this dueling, as Lynch and Smulyan don't seem to want to get in each other's way for the previous selections.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos