One of many fine alumni of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers to develop into leading bands of his own, Donald Brown has also been very successful as a composer, arranger, and pianist. Since the end of his association with the now defunct Muse, Brown has recorded a series of exciting sessions for the French-owned Space Time, including these 1995 outings. The exciting opener, "Shadow Chasers," is an uptempo romp mixing hard bop, post-bop, and a Latin tinge as well, with terrific solos by trumpeter Bill Mobley, alto saxophonist Manny Boyd, soprano saxophonist Sam Newsome, and the leader. The delicate "Granny's Bathwater" is introduced by Brown with a thoughtful solo that is full of love; Manny Boyd soon joins him with his warm, lyrical flute, with the piece taking on a brisk waltz setting as the full band is added. Brown's "Song for My Mother" showcases Newsome again on soprano in this richly voiced ballad. "Easley Said and Done" suggests a voice of protest initially, though it quickly segues into a brisk hard bop vehicle. "Wurd on the Skreet," dedicated to Brown's brother Ramone, manages to convey funkiness in a sophisticated composition. Mobley contributed the tense but swinging "Judgement Day," in which he switches to flügelhorn. The rhythm section includes bassist Essiet Essiet (known for his great work with Bobby Watson & Horizon), drummer Billy Drummond, and percussionist Daniel Sadownick, all of whom help to provide a firm foundation for the soloists throughout this highly recommended CD.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden