Hal Galper expanded his regular trio to a quintet for this 1999 studio session, adding trumpeter Tim Hagans and tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi; bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer Steve Ellington round out the group. The pianist kicks off the date with Sam Rivers' angular blues "Let's Call This That"; following his guests' straight-ahead solos, Galper mixes some unusual runs into his solo. Jaki Byard's "Diane's Melody" had special meaning to the leader, as its composer was found shot to death just two weeks prior to the making of this recording. Written as a tribute to one of Byard's two daughters, it takes on a melancholy air. Bergonzi is prominently featured in the soothing treatment of Bud Powell's "I'll Keep on Loving You," backed by Galper and Johnson. University of Miami music professor Ron Miller (one of Galper's favorite composers) contributed two songs, the lively "The Babes of Cancun" and the lyrical waltz "In Love in Peacock Park." The quintet finishes the date with a flourish, with a wild interpretation of Charlie Parker's "Constellation," in which Byard's influence on Galper's piano style is readily apparent. This CD is well worth acquiring.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden