With all the hype going to Wynton Marsalis, you might not guess that there are other, lesser-known, straight-ahead trumpet players out there who are consistently ripping the hide off the ball. This, Rick Holland's auspicious debut, is an impressive effort. The trumpeter leads his quartet, backed by a solid Michigan-based rhythm section: pianist Terry Lower, bassist Ed Fedewwa, and drummer Larry Ochiltree, through a fiery trail of originals and standards, interspersed with some fine balladry. Holland's sensitive ear translates to some tight arrangements and a well-organized program. On flugelhorn, he boasts a rich, full tone that purrs with warmth. On the faster tunes, he steams. This is the kind of jazz that feels just right on a wintry day, with the fireplace in full throttle, and the feet resting on a cushion: it hits the spot perfectly, drenched with emotional power and skillful fortitude.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy