Saxophonist Dan Pratt will be a name to watch on the modern jazz scene if this recording is any indication. Done in a Los Angeles/Hollywood area studio with New York-based cats, Pratt establishes a modern jazz sound with an organ combo that is pretty much removed from strict soul-jazz, yet retains that flavor while steaming along in neo-bop fashion. There's some truly astonishing music going on here, due to the fact that Pratt's horn works in crisp tandem lines alongside the trombonist Alan Ferber. With rising-star organist Jared Gold and drummer Mark Ferber (Alan's brother), the quartet offers up some smokin' music that never quits until they reach the finish line. Originals like "Houdini" and "Uncle Underpants" serve up large portions of counterpoint or chunky phrases between the two horns, while Gold's contributions range from soulful undercurrents, sexy, slinky blues, hard bop-derived speedy licks, or spooky ruminations. Where "Minor Procedure" is pure Blue Note post-bop, the title track adds on a fast and loose approach. The organist also subsidizes great harmonies with trombonist Ferber and Pratt as in the angular, off-minor track "Doppelganger." Mainly on tenor, Pratt himself shows little derived influence, though he's synthesized many voicings while avoiding the post-Michael Brecker syndrome. As a composer, he's a true home run power hitter, with every track except the concluding ballad knocked out of the park. Toe the Line is a terrific, impressive album, worthy of across the board accolades, and comes highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos