By: Edward Blanco

Leading the Nick Hempton Band on their second album and first on the Posi-Tone label, saxophonist Hempton guides his able quintet through a selection of highly entertaining, hard-driving and solid swinging modern jazz tunes that’s all business. Whether on the tenor or alto saxophones, Hempton is equally steamy, smooth and sophisticated demonstrating fiery moves on such burners as “Press One For Bupkis,” the opening “Flapjacks In Belo” and on the bright “From Bechet, Byas, And Fats.”

Renowned pianist Art Hirahara and guitarist Yotam Silberstein are joined by bassist Marco Panascia and drummer Dan Aran to form one of the finest rhythm sections in the business. Together, they have been providing the musical support for Hempton since 2005 and on this second recording, distinguish themselves with their play.

With the help of tasty bass work from Panascia, Hempton is especially expressive on the light “Encounter At E” followed by more warm touches on “Cold Spring Fever,” this time aided by Silberstein’s playful guitar picks and solo. Hirahara introduces the Hempton original “Not Here For A Haircut,” a piece that evolves quickly into one of the other sizzling numbers of the set where the saxophonist tees off with some of his best solo work.

The saxophonist shows a glimpse of his bluesy side on the Don Redman standard “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You” and finishes the session with the brief but hard-hitting “Carry On Up The Blues,” an original that’s more hard bop than straight blues. There are many highlights on this well-balanced program that will provide many moments of musical pleasure for those who sample the disc. Nick Hempton is neither flashy nor withdrawn, but rather creative, intense and superb delivering The Business in high-quality fashion.

Year: 2011 Label: Posi-Tone Records Artist Web: