Hal Galper was on a tear during the 1970s, writing a number of adventurous post-bop compositions and getting regular opportunities to record them. This 1976 studio session for Steeplechase features the pianist with trumpeter Randy Brecker, tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker, bassist Wayne Dockery, and drummer Billy Hart. The turbulent opener, "Reach Out," must have been incredible to hear in a live setting; this studio version features an intense, constantly searching solo by the leader, as well as impassioned solos by the Brecker Brothers. Michael switches to flute for the brisk "Spidit," which blends post-bop and elements of Latin jazz. Galper, a former sideman for Chet Baker, penned the multi-faceted "Waiting for Chet," possibly to represent the tumultuous life of the troubled trumpeter; in this song, Michael starts on flute but switches to tenor sax. The leader arranged terrific interpretations of two Gershwin standards. Ending the CD is the extended composition "Children of the Night," in which everyone solos, though everyone drops out as Wayne Dockery delivers a stunning performance. This is easily one of Hal Galper's best recordings.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden