Bill Mays is a California native, but like many jazz musicians, he was drawn to live in New York City. This session is made up of songs about the Big Apple, though they come from a wide range of composers: Broadway, jazz, and pop. On four of the tracks, Mays expands his trio to a sextet, adding alto saxophonist Jon Gordon, trombonist Ed Neumeister, and trumpeter/flügelhornist Marvin Stamm. The boisterous take of Richard Rodgers' "Manhattan" makes it seem like a cool, breezy spring day. Stamm switches to flügelhorn for Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind," in which Neumeister adds a mute (for the introduction) to carry on the "ya-ya" tradition begun by Duke Ellington's star trombonist, Tricky Sam Nanton; the piece then shifts gears to suggest a leisurely stroll in the park on a sunny day. The trio selections include a brisk interpretation of Billy Strayhorn's "U.M.M.G." (showcasing bassist Sean Smith extensively) and Lennie Tristano's tricky "317 East 32nd Street." This highly recommended CD has unfortunately been deleted from the Concord catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden