To Be Again represents a sizzling effort by the Curt Hanrahan Septet of the Great Frozen North. The pieces are almost uniformly energetic and up tempo as if trying to shake off the Wisconsin chills and bundle themselves in the warmth and glory of jazz music.
To this end, the well known Juan Tizol tune, ‘"Caravan," somehow seems transported from its languorous desert roots to the Midwestern plains of winter. They are no longer slumbering in the heat, but bracing themselves in a midnight fury to find their Bethlehem. It still retains the haunting threads of influences gathered along an ancient trade route, this time the alluvial cultural deposits of the Mississippi and ultimately New Orleans. "Caravan" is the crowning achievement of this album that re-evaluates the context but retains the spirit of the original Ellington recording.
The rest of the pieces do not reach the transcendent quality of "Caravan." However, they are amiable enough, and well articulated. It’s the kind of music you need to hear when the storm is raging outside. It’s already getting dark, the degrees on the thermometer are plunging and you’ve got the wood stove working. You've wrapped in a comforter wondering whether it is worth it to go out, but that means that you’ve got to wrap yourself in additional layers and that takes effort because you’ve got to battle those harsh elements. But then you are resigned to your immediate fate that maybe you’re better off snug and warm listening to music of the Hanrahan Septet. And, by doing so, you realize that you are home.