With The Dream, Ryan Kisor returns to the quartet lineup that graced 2000's Point of Arrival: pianist Peter Zak, bassist John Webber, and drummer Willie Jones III. The program is wholly original except for the final two tracks, a ballad reading of "I Should Care" and a fun romp on Dizzy Gillespie's infectious "Fiesta Mojo." (Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander and percussionist Renato Thoms join in on the latter.) Kisor sends sparks flying with the opening "Minor Ordeal," a hot minor blues, and "Deception," a muted foray over "Cherokee" changes (with a faint echo of "Half Nelson" at the top of the melody). The band also cooks on the mid-tempo "Bert's Blues" and the galloping modal Hubbard-esque "Panic Attack." But the waltz-time title track and the bossa piece "Calypso Cove" fail to sustain much interest. In sum, there are compelling moments, but after the fairly adventurous sound of 2001's Power Source, The Dream seems like a retreat to safer shores.
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AllMusic Review by David R. Adler