T.K. Blue composed the suite Follow the North Star to honor Solomon Northrup, a free black man during the slavery era in the United States who was kidnapped, taken South, and enslaved for a dozen years before finally being rescued. With terrific collaborators such as pianist James Weidman (Onaje Allan Gumbs spells him on one track), trombonist Steve Turre, bassist Essiet Okon Essiet, drummer Willie Martinez, and percussionist Kevin Jones, Blue (who alternates between alto and soprano saxes, plus flute and African thumb piano in the introduction) musically conveys many of the emotions Northrup likely experienced in his life, including love of his homeland, terror, sorrow, despair, and finally, joy. Blue effectively sets up several of the pieces with separate brief introductions played by just one or two instruments. The music never fails to be moving and T.K. Blue has clearly created an extended jazz work that will stand the test of time.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden