Marcus Roberts' debut as a leader is a strong all-around effort featuring the 24-year-old pianist with an all-star group consisting of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, bassist Reginald Veal, drummer Elvin Jones and either Charlie Rouse (in his last studio session) or Todd Williams on tenor. Roberts (who takes "Blue Monk" as an unaccompanied solo) already shows some individuality, along with the influence of James P. Johnson, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. The music is essentially advanced hard bop, with five Roberts originals (including "The Truth Is Spoken Here" and "Nothin' But the Blues"), two Ellington tunes and "Blue Monk" being performed in spirited fashion. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow