Opus 5's third studio album, 2014's Progression, finds the Criss Cross label supergroup delivering more of their sophisticated post-bop sound. As on past albums, Progression features the talents of saxophonist Seamus Blake, trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, pianist David Kikoski, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Donald Edwards. A collaborative ensemble, each member of Opus 5 contributes an arrangement here which helps raise the bar from a simple blowing session to a distinct, group-oriented aesthetic, which is not to say there isn't a fair share of harmonically advanced, intensely swinging playing on display. On the contrary, cuts like the lithe album-opener "Snow Bird," the lilting, 3/4 number "Fear of Roaming," and the soulful swing-funk track "Walk a Waltz," are urbane, highly engaging numbers that bring to mind '70s-era Woody Shaw and Joe Henderson. Much more than a label-based ensemble, Opus 5 are one of the best contemporary post-bop groups of their time and Progression is simply further evidence of that conclusion.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar