Although he has recorded for others, one usually finds top baritone sax player Nick Brignola on a Reservoir CD, a label with which he's had a long, stable relationship, something quite unusual in today's unsettled jazz recording climate. Here he hooks up with a hard-driving, hard bop Canadian trio, D.E.W. East, an acronym for the last names of the members of the group. East refers to their Toronto home in eastern Canada. This association gave Brignola the opportunity to expand even further the boundaries of his instrument as he engages in an exciting series of exchanges and extemporizations with members of the trio. He undertakes a long solo soliloquy on "1110 Dovercourt," showing harmonic flexibility and ingenuity not normally associated with the big horn. In this trio, Brignola has found soul mates who work closely with him on his musical adventures. One such notable meeting is with veteran bass player Steve Wallace on "Albert's Song." Wallace's highly transparent lyrical bass comes into play as a solo instrument on virtually every track. The rough-at-the-edges hard bop on albums such as these is often a passport for drummers to be obtrusive, overwhelming performers and music. Not so with Barry Elmes. He doesn't lay back with his rim shots, cymbals, and other percussive devices. He is supportive, not destructive. Elmes also contributed the very attractive "Albert's Song." The other member of the trio, reedman Alex Dean, plays aggressive counterpoint to the baritone and gets in some serious licks himself. His compositional skills are also represented by two selections. This release will enhance Brignola's standing as the number one baritone sax player in the two major polls, a spot he's held down for the last four years.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan