The opening tune by Nickelson, "Flight of the Kiwi Bird", begins just like it’s title would suggest - light and breezy. Nickelson begins the tune on guitar with an almost Motown-ish/Temptations-like repetitive line. Pate joins in after the groove is set to lay down some simple (not simplistic) soprano sax lines, sounding like an improved Kenny G. after a good 3-4 years of studying actual jazz music. The 2nd track, "Timshel (for Ian)", is by Ross and moves toward an almost ‘smooth jazz’ sound: an area somewhere between pop and jazz, but edging toward pop. This tune has an earthy straight 8th feel, and Nickelson’s bluesy, acoustic guitar playing on this one keeps it from veering toward schmaltz.
The playing is strong throughout the record. All members have obvious chops and a thorough understanding of their instruments and the idioms. What feels lacking is a genuine connection to the written material on the part of the players. Many of the melodies and forms are lackluster and a few of the solos feel like going through the motions. If the writing was invested consistently with more intensity and feeling, the players approaching the music would, in turn, invest more of themselves in the interpreting. Nevertheless, the record was worth having been made, and this group should keep at it.