Since jazz is an international language, it is little surprise how well the Americans, Norwegians and Danes play together on this modern mainstream set. Both trumpeter Ray Vega and trombonist Chris Washburne are known for being superior hard bop players. However, the biggest surprise in the group and on the CD is the Norwegian saxophonist Ole Mathisen. Whether on tenor or soprano, Mathisen tears into the music and consistently steals solo honors; check out his stirring soprano playing on "Theostopher." In addition to the sextet's skillful soloists (which include pianist Soren Moller), the composing and arranging abilities of the band are strong assets. Both "Everything Happens to Me" (which becomes a jazz waltz) and Duke Ellington's moody "Azure" are reshaped into new tunes while the group originals, although tied to the straight-ahead jazz tradition, have their share of memorable moments. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow