Eldad Tarmu is one of a small but active clutch of younger players (including Mike Freeman and Gerry Grosz) who are carving out reputations on the vibraphone. Tarmu composed all the pieces on this, his second album as a leader. However, few -- if any -- will gain a special place in the annals of jazz composition. Instead, they are closer to head arrangements designed to accentuate Tarmu's exceedingly clean, crisp vibes and the strengths of soloists appearing on a particular track. "Planet Blue" is the vehicle for some laid-back, lyrical trumpet by Josh Aguillar. M-Base jazz flutist Derrick Davis gets the call on "Yafo." Ernie Watts shows up for two tracks. He dazzles on "The Nooze" with a greased-lightning tenor solo, while on "Her Story" he shows off that almost spiritual sound he gets from the alto. There's some very passionate tenor by Ryan Woodward on "Deep Inside the Drum." And so it goes, each track kicking off with Tarmu's vibes, then the ensemble coming in for a few measures, followed by more vibes together with solos from other members of the group. One common thread among virtually all the cuts is that they swing. Tarmu's arrangements reveal an excellent feel for making the music move. Arrangements will swing if the players are capable of executing them, and Tarmu has chosen his associates for this session wisely. Especially notable is the rhythm section led by pianist Cengiz Yaltkaya, whose comping and soloing are critical to the success of the session. While the bulk of the playing is fiery and aggressive, there is a break in the fast action with the lovely, waltz-like "Float Above the Rain." Recommended.
AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan
feat: Ron Affif