A sequel to the fabulously successful soundtrack album from the film Kansas City, KC After Dark gathers together a second batch of tracks from the cutting-room floor with almost equally astonishing results. Again, one is struck by how director Robert Altman and producer Hal Willner were able to get these young neo-boppers, so buttoned-down and respectful of their elders as leaders, to loosen up and wail in circa-1930s Kansas City repertoire. They play roughly in the idioms of their ancestors, but now with fire and humor and a genuine sense of fun, urged on by the whoops of the actors on the nightclub set. Listen to tenormen Joshua Redman and James Carter grunting and snorting and blustering their ways through their wild, wild duel on "Prince of Wails" (Carter is spectacular throughout the CD), or trumpeter Nicholas Payton letting go on "King Porter Stomp," or guitarist Mark Whitfield's single string and rhythm work on solo unamplified guitar. Anchoring the young lions is one veteran, David "Fathead" Newman, who opens the second take of "Indiana" with some pertinent a cappella alto preaching. While the film may have landed with a thud at the box office, this band was clearly the most durable result of the whole project -- and it even toured successfully around the U.S. well after the movie dropped out of the theatres.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell