One of the most popular American jazz groups in Japan in the 1980s, the Manhattan Jazz Quintet was practically unknown as a collective in the U.S. Although the part-time band broke up in the late '80s, it came back together for a recorded reunion. On this CD, the group (which consists of pianist David Matthews, trumpeter Lew Soloff, tenor saxophonist George Young, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Steve Gadd) performs six standard blues plus "Basin Street Blues." Matthews' fairly basic arrangements give fresh personalities to most of the songs, allowing one to forget the similar chord changes. Soloff takes a particularly brilliant solo on "Sweet Basil Blues," Young is quite soulful on "St. Louis Blues" and the rhythm section is superb in support. A special bonus is guest John Scofield's distinctive guitar on three selections. Excellent modern mainstream music by some of the best.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow