Steeplechase has successfully revived the art of the studio jam session, bringing in small groups with minimal pre-planning and lots of enthusiasm. Jon Gordon, a protégé of Phil Woods and winner of the 1996 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, is joined by tenor saxists Dave Schnitter and Rich Perry (the latter who has recorded extensively for the label, both as a leader and sideman), along with pianist Michael Weiss, bassist Jay Anderson, and drummer Joe Farnsworth. The saxophonists give all in their burning workout of John Coltrane's "Lazy Bird," while the unusually breezy take of Thelonious Monk's "Epistrophy" still retains an ominous air. The laid-back, bluesy, extended treatment of Charlie Parker's "Bluebird" is followed by an infectious take of Blue Mitchell's catchy calypso "Fungii Mama." An enjoyable ballad medley allows brief individual features for each of the major soloists. One oddity is that Coltrane's "Locomotion" (written and recorded for his landmark album Blue Train) is incorrectly attributed to Monk, though this blazing interpretation is a worthy heir to the original recording. All of the participants clearly had a ball making this thoroughly delightful CD.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden