Like many bandleaders who record for the Sea Breeze label, trumpeter Brad Steinwehe has paid his dues as a sideman and long served as a jazz educator at the university level. His orchestra, which likewise seems to be made up of musicians much like himself, does justice to the mix of familiar jazz compositions and new works. Trumpeter/flugelhornist Karl Soukup contributed several charts, including a darkly swinging setting of Horace Silver's "Nutville" and a percolating scoring of "Seven Steps to Heaven." Many of the other composers whose work is featured are less well known, though the musicians make the most of each of these selections, leaving the listener wanting to hear more from their respective songbooks. Among the impressive soloists heard are alto and soprano saxophonists Mike Nelson, tenorist Steve Steinberg, pianist Irving Flores, and the leader. This CD also marks the return of altoist Christopher Hollyday (in the lush ballad "Lifelong Friend"), a promising artist who recorded several CDs for Novus in the late '80s and early '90s who suddenly seemed to disappear from the jazz recording scene without a trace.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden