Unlike his earlier release Got Eyes for You, where jazz standards were featured, trumpet player Bob Montgomery's latest release focuses on some of his originals and classic standards, mostly by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Montgomery is joined by just bass and guitar. Veteran bassist Dave Young is a major asset to this album, having occupied the bass chair for Oscar Peterson and worked with Clark Terry and Benny Carter. The guitar player on the set, Curt Warren, is from the Southwest and is professor of guitar at the University of Texas at El Paso. Words that best describe the playing on this album are "laid-back" and "warm." Even the up-tempo numbers like "My Baby Just Cares for Me" and "Satin Doll" are done in a way as to exude calmness and to cultivate a comfortable feeling. Montgomery's sidekicks perform their dual roles admirably on this recorded endeavor. They provide the underpinning for Montgomery's solo trumpet and shine when asked to pick up the solo cudgels, which happens frequently. Since this album runs for more than 70 minutes and there are only three instruments (two of them strings), innovative and imaginative playing is a necessity. And there is no problem in meeting this challenge. The improvisation is significant and ear-catching, but also relaxed and sincere. Listen to the group come together on the traditional Australian "Waltzing Matilda," carried by Warren's guitar before Montgomery and Young come in on the second chorus. An album highlight is Frank Loesser's "I've Never Been in Love Before," revealing a debt to Shorty Rogers. Of Montgomery's own compositions, "A Sing for Nicholas" is the most interesting, with beguiling rhythms and a fine guitar solo by Warren. "Madison's Waltz" offers more than five minutes of music in 3/4 time, with Young's bass given major solo space. These tunes establish that Montgomery has major compositional skills. With a play list of above-average originals and fresh, respectful arrangements of Duke's and Billy's music, this album is easy to recommend.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan