Guitarist Joe Cohn is joined by pianist Hod O'Brien, alto saxophonist Dmitry Baevsky, bassist Dennis Irwin, and drummer Chuck Riggs on Restless, a small jazz band outing grounded in the past. Five of the songs, including "Two Marvelous for Words," the title track, and "Shadow Waltz" date back to the '30s, and another, "I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone," from the '40s. Four of the remaining five tunes, however, were written by Cohn, Harry Allen, and O'Brien; they're pieces that build on the band's roots. The band also expands to a sextet on five numbers with guest tenor saxophonist Allen. Cohn runs a tight ensemble, limiting most pieces to five or six minutes, and the range of material, from the bluesy "Woody's Lament" to the frenetic "Fast,," is expansive. For some fans of guitar music, setting the guitar among one or two horns may seem somewhat distracting; whenever the horns chime in, the guitar is shunted to the sidelines. Because of this, the instrumental mix doesn't always jell the way many guitar-centered trios and quartets do. Other mainstream jazz fans will find much to like about Restless, appreciating Cohn's willingness to explore both old and new material in this setting.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.