Bassist Bob Nieske's recording for GM (recorded in 1993 but released in 1996) is most notable for its subtle surprises. Although avant-garde in places, the performances are full of strong lyrical melodies, a quirky brand of swing and logical unpredictability. Nieske, who starts the set with a somber solo bass tribute to Charlie Haden and concludes it with his feature "My Desire," wrote nine of the 11 selections including tributes to Jimmy Giuffre, Charles Ives and the obscure pianist Dick Twardzik. There is also a heated swing version of "I Found A New Baby" (featuring for some odd reason two baritones) and Thelonious Monk's "Misterioso." In the quintet Jim Cameron generally plays alto (with one appearance apiece on tenor and baritone), Tom Hall is mostly on tenor (with a bit of baritone), guitarist Jon Damian holds the pianoless group together and drummer Nat Mugavero is versatile enough to uplift the colorful music. Together the musicians create a consistently intriguing set that blurs the differences between various styles; the program on a whole is worth several close listens.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow