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Album Review

This is a casual but enjoyable hard bop session featuring two relative unknowns (tenor saxophonist Jeff Hittman and drummer Yoshitaka Uematsu, who is the co-leader) and three more familiar names (trumpeter Valerie Ponomarev, pianist Larry Willis and bassist Dennis Irwin). Hittman's straightforward tenor is a cross between his idol Sonny Rollins, early John Coltrane (especially during "On Luck"), and a touch of Hank Mobley. It is nice to hear Ponomarev in this freewheeling setting; the vastly underrated Larry Willis is in his usual sparkling form, and Irwin and Uematsu are fine in support. A couple of Hittman originals, a bossa nova by Steve Grossman, Hank Mobley's "The Opener," and two versions of a medium-tempo Cedar Walton blues comprise this date, but at 33½ minutes, the playing time of the otherwise fine release is ridiculously brief for a CD.

Mosaic, Jeff Hittman
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