Rufus Reid's second CD with his group Out Front (with pianist Steve Allee and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca) adds several guests, including Brazilian guitarist Toninho Horta, alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, tenor saxophonist J.D. Allen, and trumpeter Freddie Hendrix. The veteran bassist has long been one of the top soloists on his instrument and a significant composer as well. There are several fresh interpretations of standards, including a buoyant, lively "Come Rain or Come Shine" by the trio, an expressive duet with Watson of "These Foolish Things," and a brilliant duo take with Allee of "Memories of You" highlighted by the bassist's intricate soloing. Reid's originals begin with the hip swinger "It's the Nights I Like" featuring the trio. "The Eloquent One" salutes the late jazz piano great Hank Jones, a brooding theme with a gorgeous melody, showcasing Hendrix's rich flügelhorn. The full septet is heard in engaging in lively interplay in the infectious samba "When She Smiles Upon Your Face" and contributing delightful angular solos in the breezy "Hues of a Different Color." Reid isn't the only gifted composer. Horta's "Francisca" is an engaging bossa nova duet with Reid, adding the guitarist's warm wordless vocal. Da Fonseca penned "Manhattan Style," a fast-paced cooker that eventually evolves into a samba and showcases a potent drum solo. Allee contributed two memorable sambas, including the richly textured "Summer's Shadow" and the pulsating, dramatic "Candango." Highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden