It often seems like the Dutch label Criss Cross is much more enlightened when it comes to recording talented young American jazz musicians than major labels within the U.S.A. Such is the case with guitarist Peter Leitch, who's heard leading this 1988 session. With alto saxophonist Bobby Watson, pianist James Williams, bassist Ray Drummond, and drummer Marvin Smitty Smith added to the mix, great music was the only possible result. Leitch's "Pepper," a tribute to the late Pepper Adams (who gave him his first job in New York), is a brisk affair with sterling solos by all parties. His easygoing samba "Portrait of Sylvia" adds Jed Levy's alto flute. Duke Ellington's "Warm Valley" is a soulful duet with Watson that is full of fun and features great interplay as well. Leitch captures the moody air of Alec Wilder's infrequently performed ballad "The Winter of My Discontent" in his solo interpretation. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden