Jazz-driven motifs with an old fashioned blues persuasion trickle all over The Steve Hall Quintet's latest release Cruisin' On Burnside. The band's platters of cruising jazz and nocturnal modern bop arm the album with attractive melodies and a striking rapport amongst the band members making it conceivable that no one individual leads the outfit, but rather, the tunes are a collaborative effort allowing each musician to take the spotlight as the others support him. The undulating motions of Hall's organ are trellised in the frilly horns of trumpet/flugelhorn player John Dover and tenor/alto saxophonist Bill Harris as guitarist Peter Schwimmer supplies the kindling sparks and drummer Kenny Morse provides the grooves.
Every track is embalmed in mirthful movements even to the extent of ferrying a dance groove like in the funk-induced bop traction of "Footprints." A Latin-flavored shimmers coasting in the undertow of "Island Dance" evolves in "Float Like A Bee" to carousing a balmy shudder. Hall's quintet takes a contemporary approach to bop reflective of guitarist Richard Hart's vision with fluid riffs and a bluesy continuity most noticeable in Hall's organ ruminations embedded in the lulling movements of "I Remember Clifford" accentuated by the gentle wails of the horns. The spirited thrusts and jiggles of the horns in "Cheesecake" hark of the days of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, bolting into a soul/funk-enriched basting in "Sunday Morning Funk." The casual stroll of the instruments in "Dat Dere" has an infectious swagger, which switches into bubbly strides along "Mr. Kenyetta." The quintet's cover of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight" resonates with dulcet lines, and their take on Dexter Gordon's "Soy Califa" is draped in Latin fringes and catchy dance grooves.
A native of America's west coast, Steve Hall honed his chops at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He formed his quintet in 2001, and in 2005, they released their self-titled debut album followed by their 2007 recording Better Late. Cruisin' On Burnside is the quintet's third endeavor showing the band's sense of pure blues and modern bop with a hardcore edge.