Bruce Barth, despite his professorship at Temple University, is no stodgy jazz egghead. He is a working musician with an abundance of technique, a seemingly bottomless well of ideas and is a composer of considerable skill with a contemporary and inventive approach. Indeed, many of the compositions on this recording are by Barth with the exception of a tune each by Gershwin, Coltrane and the bluesily evocative Night Shadows by Eri Yamamoto. Barth's solos are witty and insightful while his innate harmonic sense makes him the perfect accompanist when backing solos by others. He never hogs the spotlight and always allows his superb band mates plenty of time to help make this music sing. And sing it does, with powerful grooves, lush harmonies, and a tremendous fluidity within the changing time signatures and polyrhythms of Barth's compositions. Joining the front line is the masterful vibes player Steve Nelson, who always swings hard, but also manages to play with a soulful lyricism.