Mike Hobart, Jazzwise
The lolloping swing that drives the opening modal blues signals baritone saxophonist BJ Jansen’s mainstream aesthetic, the floaty cover of Frank Stagnitta’s “Carol’s Dream” that follows confirms it. Jansen builds his set on traditional structures and solid well-worn grooves ranging from the sassy 6/8 of “Street Walk” to the cool school swing of “Angela’s Aggravation” and “Relaxing With Jessica”. Elsewhere, William Carney’s aptly-titled “Bucketful of Soul” benefits from Ralph Peterson’s hip backbeats and the title track, though through-improvised, sticks to the script. On the plus side, Jansen has assembled an all-star cast. Peterson’s drumming is masterful, crackles with energy and invention and is totally at one with Dezron Douglas’ bass. Pianist Zaccai Curtis fills in the spaces with aplomb and turns in a lovely solo on the ballad. And a frontline that includes Duane Eubanks and Delfeayo Marsalis is as svelte and fiery as you would expect. Where featured, they add gloss as well as interest. But this is baritone saxophonist Jansen’s album, and it is he who calls most of the shots. The baritone is notoriously difficult to articulate and keep in tune, and there are times when Jansen’s upper register is a bit wayward. Other than that, he is solid enough. Three alternative takes add to the already good-value playing time.