The Jazz Tribe was a short-lived assembly of all-stars that recorded in the early 1990s for the Italian label Red. Their first recording features trumpeter Jack Walrath and alto saxophonist Bobby Watson in the front line, with pianist Walter Bishop, Jr., bassist Charles Fambrough, drummer Joe Chambers, and Latin percussionist Ray Mantilla. Bishop's "Valley Land" is a solid opener, with the added horns and Latin rhythm giving it a very different sound than its trio version from the early '70s. Watson's buoyant "Pamela" (named in honor of his wife) has long been a signature tune for the alto saxophonist in various bands; this version features the composer with Walrath playing muted trumpet alongside him. Walrath contributed the lengthy piece "The Straight Caballero," which has a sauntering Mexican flavor. Mantilla is the prominent soloist on congas in his originals "Synergy" and "Six for Kim," though Watson gets the spotlight in "Mantilla's Blues." Tenor saxophonist Steve Grossman is an added guest on the deliberate interpretation of "Star Eyes," the sole standard of the session.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden