Technically not a group but a non-profit society, Zone is comprised of a core of five Finnish jazz composers/performers, who maintain an orchestra with shifting personnel. For this recording, the collective consists of 11 members, including three saxes, trombone, trumpet, and a six-piece rhythm section (with synth, percussion, drums, piano, and bass). While all but one of the compositions were written by the five founders of Zone (the exception being Monk's "Jackie-Ing"), the music has its own identity, due to the sophisticated compositions and the excellent soloists. While the roots of the music lie in hard bop, and there are some scintillating improvisations by different members, the synthesizers contribute significantly throughout, especially in the midst of heavily layered arrangements. Trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz is a standout on the hard bop numbers, and emotions run the gamut as these fairly traditional jazz numbers favor a middle of the road polished approach that provokes as it inspires.
AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy