Trumpeter Alex Sipiagin sticks with a quintet lineup on his second Criss Cross outing, but this time opts for guitar over piano. Tenor saxophonist Chris Potter remains in place from the first session; Adam Rogers, who is finally gaining wider exposure, ably fills the chair previously occupied by Dave Kikoski; and a new rhythm section appears, with Boris Kozlov on bass and Gene Jackson on drums. The music is magnificent, and thankfully the takes are nice and long, giving the soloists more than enough room to push the envelope. In addition to four strong originals, Sipiagin offers an elevated reading of Mingus' "Reincarnation of a Lovebird," two equally stirring takes of Bill Evans' "Very Early," and a priceless flügelhorn/acoustic guitar duet on Monk's "Light Blue." Sipiagin's orchestrations are ceaselessly probing and imaginative; there are times, like on the out-blues title track, when the harmonized lines he plays with Potter sound like three horns. Combining the rigors of painstaking composition with the frenzied inspiration of the hottest blowing date, Sipiagin gives listeners some of the most potent and engaging mainstream jazz of the era.
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AllMusic Review by David R. Adler