The legendary flutist returns to the contemporary jazz fold in an era when the type of sexy cool soul-jazz he recorded on CTI in the '70s (earning three Grammy nominations in the process) is now considered retro and hip. Even with some incredibly fresh new material, magnificently wistful playing, and his grand legacy in tow, he might have trouble getting the flute onto the smooth jazz format. But his new label gives him a great shot at it, helping him along first on the title cut with Chris Botti's subtle trumpet and Fattburger guitarist Evan Marks' best wah-wah clicks. Even with those luminaries and lush backing vocals, Laws' sultry flute gymnastics stand out. "Bloodshot" sounds like the kind of dreamy funk-jazz he did in the '70s, helped along here by the keyboard punch of Jeff Lorber, who also traverses both eras. And speaking of hip, on "Summer '75" Laws picks up the piccolo for a higher-tone melody over the bouncy moods of smooth jazz star Brian Culbertson's Wurlitzer and Rhodes. Another guest sure to help in the marketing of the legend's new era is Herbie Hancock, an old CTI labelmate who charms on acoustic piano on the midtempo "Nighttime Daydream." Ironically, as strong as those tracks are, Laws does just fine with a core trio of David Budway (piano), John Leftwich (bass), and Ralph Penland (drums) throughout the rest of the disc. "Stinky" is all speedy chops, while "Malibu" offers more of Laws' laid-back side. A marvelous night, indeed.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran
feat: Chris Botti
feat: Jeff Lorber
feat: Brian Culbertson
feat: Herbie Hancock