Tom Knific has long been on the jazz faculty at Western Michigan University, while he also co-founded the Western Jazz Quartet in the mid-'70s in addition to recording several CDs prior to this one as a leader. The veteran bassist is joined by several alumni of his jazz studies program, including his son John on piano, tenor saxophonist Chris Beckstrom, and drummer Keith Hall, plus percussionist Ryan Andrews. "Lines of Influence" is a thoughtful ballad co-written by father and son, a subtle, reflective tune with a spirit of hope. The leader's "Little Wonder" is an excellent showcase for each of the soloists, while his "Home Bass" is a funk-fest. Hall and Beckstrom each contributed valuable originals to the date as well. The arrangement of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" transforms it into a tense cooker, while their take on Joshua Redman's "Can a Good Thing Last Forever?" is pure soul-jazz. In spite of his many contributions, Tom Knific remains one of the best-kept secrets in jazz; he deserves to be more widely known.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden