"Avant Blue" is a throw back to another era. The sixties featured some of the greatest soul jazz ever. Artists like Don Paterson, Charles Earland and Jimmy Smith burned the keys with inspired soul injected performances. Nagel's funk based organ sound is rich with rhythmic fire and a low down kind of feel. Moretti weaves in and out of the melody with committed passion and drive.
The New Orleans sound is alive and well in "Kooksville." This second line-based number is a group effort featuring fine performances from Moretti, Nagel, and the rhythm section. One listen and you are up on your feet grooving to the beat.
"Poydras Street" is reminiscent of the Horace Silver sound. This groove-based piece features an infectious melody along with Nagel's funky piano, Ballou's rich bass sounds and Moretti's smooth delivery. There is much to enjoy.
Shorter's "Virgo" features Moretti's reflective side. This melancholic and rather intriguing version is dedicated to the Virgos in his life. Moretti works with extended lines at some points tentative, at others, reassuring. Bartlett's haunting guitar work creates an atmosphere of wonder and mystic.
"Compared To That" is an upbeat number featuring the band at it's best. Bartlett takes his guitar on a funk-infested journey. His fingers glide effortlessly with plenty of melodic overtones. Nagel's piano work demonstrates how versatile and fluid his playing can be.
If there were one word to describe Passing Place, it would be variety. Throughout the session we are treated to a level of musicianship heard only on the finest of jazz recordings. Everyone is here to play. This is clearly the case on every selection. Inspired performances and solid arrangements add up to one heck of a listen.