Richard Palmer Jazz Journal Int. March 1999

A most agreeable and funfilled surprise. I had never heard of any of these musicians when the CD arrived and subsequent enquiry has left me non-the wiser; however, I am delighted to make their aural acquaintance.

This is superior quartet jazz: mellow and humorous, it has plenty of bite and imagination as well, and I think of several more vaunted sessions that could have learnt a thing or two from Cairo and his men about the virtues of unpretentious clarity and taking care of business.

On the sleeve Cairo is quoted as an admirer of such ‘Big Sound’ tenors as Byas, Lockjaw, Dexter and Rollins; I’m a touch surprised that Gene Ammons wasn’t cited as well, for Cairo’s lissome but straightforwardly earthy style would surely have Jug’s ghost nodding in approval.

Witmer, Barkman and (especially) Becton do a splendid job in support, and the pianist takes several notable solos as well. The material is a thoughtfully varied mix: the seven originals all appeal, and the choice of Doggy is inspired: the tune is treated with affectionate respect as well as humor (no wonder Cairo likes Rollins!) and is rich delight from start to finish.

I have no idea who the two ladies adorning the CD’s cover are (don’t get too excited) or what, if anything, they have to do with the music. But in a way such artwork signifies the simultaneously wacky and down-home appeal of this set, which is the perfect record to play when you’ve had quite enough of ‘muesli jazz’ and fancy a bit of honest protein. RECOMMENDED!

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