This is hardly tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart's first recording as a leader, but his earlier CDs were for various European labels. In the Still of the Night is the release that set his career afire, as he joins forces with three of New York's in-demand musicians in his rhythm section: the hard-driving pianist Tardo Hammer, everyone's first call bassist Peter Washington and the talented drummer Joe Farnsworth. Right of the box, the big-toned Stewart makes his presence known with an up-tempo rendition of "In the Still of the Night" that makes one stand up and take notice. Stewart and Hammer dive head first into Thelonious Monk's "Work" (not exactly one of the pianist's more frequently recorded numbers), with Washington and Farnsworth fueling their spirited solos. But Stewart is also no slouch playing ballads, as his dreamy take of "Autumn in New York" and haunting treatment of "Lush Life" display a profound lyricism. Stewart's astute choice of Richard Rodgers' "Loads of Love" uncovers another gem that is rarely recorded, his sizzling solo will invite comparisons to Dexter Gordon. Even Burt Bacharach's often blandly played "Wives & Lovers" is rejuvenated with Stewart's lighthearted but aggressive interpretation. Highly recommended!
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden