After his big band experiment, Duke Pearson returned to a smaller group setting, but he didn't scale back his ambitions. The Phantom finds Pearson writing an ambitious set of post-bop that expands the boundaries of the music with Latin percussion and complex harmonies derived from the avant-garde. His supporting band is fairly large, featuring Jerry Dodgion (flute), Bobby Hutcherson (vibes), Sam T. Brown (guitar), Alexander Gafa (guitar), Bob Cranshaw (bass), Mickey Roker (drums), Carlos "Patato" Valdes (conga), and Victor Pantoja (conga), but they're agile, bringing a spark and energy to the difficult arrangements. The results aren't always successful, but they are intriguing and worth investigating.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine