April 13, 1990 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it a B

Donald Byrd was one of the more promising trumpeters to emerge in the ’50s (Art Blakey class of ’56); 20 years later, he had a Ph.D. and several big hits with his pop group, the Blackbyrds, but he couldn’t play a lick (as his 1978 tour with Sonny Rollins made painfully clear). Well, he has been to the woodshed, and this album qualifies as a bona fide comeback. His tone, though occasionally thin, has warmth, and this fine sextet — which includes the splendidly terse tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson and two recent alums from Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (pianist Donald Brown and bassist Peter Washington) — recalls the easy camaraderie of vintage hard bop. B

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