Veteran tenor saxophonist/composer Ned Otter presents the jazz public with his debut as a leader on this 2002 effort, featuring his mentor, tenor saxophone great George Coleman. Moreover, Otter devotes this outing to drummer Billy Higgins, who passed away shortly after the final production stages of this recording were consummated. Simply put, this sextet hearkens notions of the now infamous '60s Blue Note recordings era as the band sports a radiant sound to coincide with its jubilant demeanor. Otter, Coleman, trumpeter Tom Kirkpatrick, and the sadly under-recognized pianist Harold Mabern frequently trade sprightly fours while reworking melodies amid a plethora of hard driving swing vamps. Otter's broad, robust tones and melodic gifts often complement Coleman's equally muscular and altogether fluent attack. And while some of these pieces are more memorable than others, Otter and his musical associates go for the proverbial jugular on more than one occasion. They also augment their game plan with tightly organized unison choruses amid a collective flair for the dynamic.
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AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita