Pianist David Hazeltine joins forces once again with tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander for an outstanding session. With bassist Peter Washington and drummer Joe Farnsworth supplying the base of a solid rhythm section, Hazeltine delves into several pop songs from the 1950s and 1960s, giving them complete makeovers. Henry Mancini's slow waltz "Moon River" incorporates stop-time measures initially before settling into a driving hard bop mode. Burt Bacharach's often tediously played ballad "The Look of Love" is still played at a slow tempo, but the pianist adds an ominous sound to sections of his trio arrangement. The briskly paced scoring of Jimmy Van Heusen's
"Nancy (With the Laughing Face)" features a driving piano reminiscent of McCoy Tyner's style, as well as adding a tasty bass solo by Washington. The originals on the session are every bit as potent. The leader's "A Walk in the Park" is a demanding piece full of twists and turns, which the quartet navigates with ease. His "Blues on the 7" showcases Alexander's powerful playing, while the tenor saxophonist's vigorous blues "On the Marc" is every bit as enjoyable. There's nothing fancy about the quartet's approach to Thelonious Monk's "Ask Me Now"; they just dive into this memorable ballad and play it without any unnecessary frills.