Doug Ramsey, ArtsJournal
For a time, a cyst on his jaw threatened to end Don Braden’s playing days, but following his recovery the tenor saxophonist and flutist sounds as confident and inventive as ever. Braden’s generation was immersed in the music of Stevie Wonder and the pop/jazz ensemble Earth Wind And Fire. He adapted some of their best-known pieces for this tribute collection. He is particularly moving on flute as he expresses the melody of Wonder’s “I Can’t Help It.” The album gets underway with Braden on tenor sax in EW&F’s “Fantasy.” His fluid solo underlines this relatively young musician’s familiarity with saxophone masters going back as far as Lester Young and Don Byas. Braden’s two combos on the album include pianists Brandon McCune and Art Hirahara, bassists Kenny Davis and Joris Teepe, and drummers Cecil Brooks III and Jeremy Warren. The music may be inspired by preferences of the 1970s, but Braden and company find its timeless qualities.

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