Dick Oatts is a veteran of many top-notch jazz bands, a renowned jazz educator, and a fine alto saxophonist and bandleader deserving of wider recognition. One of the busiest musicians in the Manhattan jazz scene, Oatts gathered a number of other Big Apple-based players, including trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, pianist/organist Gary Versace, bassist Dave Santoro, and drummer Tony Reedus for this 2007 session that focuses on the leader's striking originals. Versace has been primarily making his name as an organist, though he is still very comfortable on piano, his first instrument, lighting a fire in the infectious hard bop vehicle "Owe Joe" and playing a sensitive duet with Oatts in the haunting ballad "Gratitude." The pieces with organ also stand out. "Emphasizing Eric" is a loosely constructed free piece over a catchy vamp, while the light, Latin-flavored "A Change Will Come" and the percolating hard bop vehicle "Organic Lady" also shine.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden