Popkin is a cool, airy and agile player who prefers his instrument's high register. At times you may feel you are listening to an alto. He spins out long lines that would make his mentor proud and makes good use of space. His innovative originals, which make up most of this album, range from the sinuous and romantic "Ballad" to the swinging "Onyx". "Nightflight" is particularly interesting as Popkin uses intervals to suggest a musical conversation. His playing is especially intense on the single standard,an abstract treatment of "I Surrender Dear."
The rhythm section makes good use of their experience with Popkin in the Crothers-Popkin quartet. Drummer Carol Tristano, Lennie's daughter, is an artist on brushes. She and bassist Rich Califano mainly provide rock-solid support rather than the punctuation often associated with jazz trios. This does goes beyond mere timekeeping - check out those tempo changes on the impressionistic "Formation"! They also get their own space on a couple of arrangements. "Soft Walk," which suggests "Out of Nowhere" includes a creative solo by Tristano while Califano has a feature on the up-tempo "Glidepath."
Marsh, Konitz, Bauer. Crothers. Carol Tristano, Califano, Popkin. Lennie Tristano lives on.