This music is sometimes referred to as "chamber jazz" because of the complex, layered arrangements and the often-slow tempos. The characterization is not entirely accurate, though, as there are also instances of invigorating jazz in a post-bop style. Saxophonist Andy Laster
called on his changing quintet, Hydra
, and for this recording the group consists of an all-star cast. The most prominent soloist is trumpeter Herb Robertson
, whose rubbery and pinched improvisations share the limelight with the leader. Also notable are Drew Gress
' fine bass playing and Tom Rainey
's drums. Laster
shines most as a composer (he wrote and arranged all the pieces). As a performer, he splits his time between bari and alto saxophones, and is equally effective, if a touch mundane, on each. While a couple of the tracks meander, some of the pieces shine exquisitely and reflect an outstanding talent on the rise.