Ray Mantilla's Space Station is his regular group and works mostly in Europe. Although tied to the bebop tradition, Mantilla's soloists are actually much more modern, closer to post-bop than to hard bop. Because the septet works together often, they have developed their own fresh material which consists mostly of originals by Mantilla and pianist Eddy Martinez. The only standard on the date is a ballad version of "The Man I Love." The horn solos are a natural part of the arrangements and vice versa with plenty of fine spots for baritonist Enrique Fernandez, Willie Williams on tenor and soprano, and trumpeter Guido Gonzalez. In addition there are some percussion solos for the leader along the way. And while the music is modern and often complex, the rhythms generated by Mantilla and drummer Bill Elder keep the proceedings fairly accessible and danceable. Mantilla's New Space Station is a band worth exploring.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow