This record killed me. Completely randomly I grabbed the record and listened to it on a subway ride to a gig last week. Since then, it's been in pretty heavy rotation. Simply put, no one is writing tunes like these guys put on this album. Like too many other musicians, I end up tuning out the vocals half the time. Here, the vocals demand your attention - they play just as interesting a role as any horn line (dig the way the odd phrasing moves over the bar line on the opener "Be Mine") and push very solid tunes into an "infectious" realm.
And that's the killer factor about this album. Take out some of the jazz, and these are really good pop tunes. Take out the pop stuff, and you've got a pretty solid jazz record (these aren't tunes just for blowing, and it never goes anywhere "skronky" just to show they can). What really amazed me is that these relatively young (mid-20s) musicians were able to meld the two together so well. There's a lot of "where the hell did that come from" left-turns that work so well in these tunes and constantly keep things interesting that really kept me coming back.
I'm really looking forward to hearing more from this group as they continue, and hopefully they come to New York sometime to tour. If you give them a listen, let me know what you think!