The west coast is still somewhat of an afterthought in the jazz world. Even though the contributions made by west coast based artists have been formidable, the yardstick of approval for many of these artists throughout jazz history has been the success they achieve when they finally move to New York. Although New York isn't the jazz hub it once was, some of the old prejudices linger; much of what is happening on the Los Angeles jazz scene today is still precariously close to being off the jazz map.
Trombonist Curt Berg keeps the L.A. jazz scene alive at his Avon Street Studio, one of many "Garage Studios" as he calls them, that play a key part in today's L.A. scene. Berg has assembled a consummate and professional sounding quintet for this recording, from players who jam regularly at the Avon Street address. The result is a sound that seems to be an homage to the cool-bop jazz of yesteryear popularized by artists like Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, and Lee Konitz.
The compositions are complex enough to stay interesting, but devoid of sharp edges. Saxophonist Tom Luer stands out on the blues "Midwick Man", and pianist Andy Langham comps eloquently throughout the album; Lyman Medeiros provides a firm and sensitive base, and, besides providing cover art, drummer Bill Berg displays a keen sense of rhythm. Bandleader Curt Berg's trombone adds an interesting flavor to this album, bringing full sound to the arrangements here.