Renato Caranto, a native of the Philippines, began his musical career playing Top 40 and R&B, but made the switch to jazz for good during the 1990s. The Portland-based tenor saxophonist's fourth CD as a leader (and first for Diatic) is a solid affair, featuring pianist Gordon Lee, bassist Andre St. James, and drummer Mel Brown; together the quartet mixes it up with originals and a few surprises. The leader's "Gordon's Old Drums" primarily features Caranto and Brown in an obvious reworking of "I Got Rhythm" that nonetheless cooks like mad. Caranto's lush tone is evident in "Nice to Be Home," a swinging bossa nova. Trombonist Stan Bock and trumpeter Thara Memory are added for the late Clifford Jordan's dramatic blues "Charlie Parker's Last Supper," which features Memory alternating between trumpet and adding some humorous scatting (the latter sounding somewhat electronically altered). In addition to the potent originals by Caranto and Lee, the inclusion of pianist Ezra Weiss' funky "Five AM Strut" proves to be an inspired choice.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden