Trumpeter Sean Jones emphasizes various vocalist friends for his fourth recording as a leader. His previous CDs have leaned toward a more produced pop-oriented approach within a definite modern jazz framework, and this effort leans toward a balance of combining those elements without being overtly commercialized. The first eight cuts all feature the singers, the most effective being rising star Gretchen Parlato. Her beautiful voice levitates Kendrick Scott's ballad composition "Journey," done on his debut CD, receiving a different, less expansive treatment, while the sunny swing waltz "It's Just a Matter of Time" has Parlato and Sachal Vasandani swapping opposing transposed crowded vocal lines. Parlato is special; please pay attention to her in the future. Even more impressive are two spiritualistic pieces, reminiscent of the recent work by pianist Robert Glasper. The opener, "Allison," drips with emotion, informed by the lovely piano playing of Orrin Evans, slight Latin spice, and the wordless vocals of J.D. Walter, while "Esperanto" (not sung in Esperanto) has Carolyn Perteete's siren-song singing, pristine as morning dew. At this point one barely notices the trumpet player, until you hear four consecutive instrumentals. "Say Brah" is a cooking typical neo-bopper, "Blak Music" a less clichéd hard bopper, the title track a more modern near-fusion Fender Rhodes-infused piece, and "The Sluice" revealing Jones as a singsongy Lee Morgan/Freddie Hubbard-influenced Young Lion. The pacing and programming of this recording could have been more effectively revisited; it feels like block formatting. It is another fine, not yet definitive musical effort from Jones, easily a Top Ten rising star of contemporary jazz trumpet.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos