A glance at the play list on this CD tells the listener where trombonistWycliffe Gordon is coming from. While many jazz performers are into music that sounds like it might be more fun for the musicians to play than the audience to hear, Gordon looks to some of his musical forefathers for inspiration of a more melodious kind. Tunes from such masters as Duke Ellington and John Coltrane signal an elegant and sophisticated approach, exemplified by the opening cut, "In a Mellow Tone." Not that Gordon and his companions do not go off on jazz riffs, but they are mindful of the return to the melody, for which many a jazz fan can be thankful. Gordon plays here with an outstanding lineup of musicians, including Ryan Kisor on trumpet, Victor Goines on tenor and soprano saxophone, Herb Harris on tenor sax, Zach Pride on bass, and Rodney Green on drums. Gordon puts the group through its paces on beautiful standards such as "Mood Indigo," "Cherokee," and "Stevie." The aggregation hits a groove on "Blue 'n' Boogie" and "Cotton Tail," and steams through several tunes from Gordon's pen, including the title cut, "Pretty Little Girl," and "Bone Abstractions." Wycliffe Gordon lets the world know that "what you dealin' with" here is excellence in musicianship.
AllMusic Review by Rose of Sharon Witmer