Jay Messer Quintet Liner Notes for Sly Exit Jazz can be defined as improvised music that relies on structure. One might also point out jazz performance is, most often, by individuals in groups. Jazz tradition has figured in the evolution of the "modern" jazz quintet configuration of two horns and three rhythm (one brass, one reed, bass, drums, and piano, or less often, guitar.) Jay Messer, the leader, main composer, and arranger of the quintet is a guitarist fluent in the hard and post-bop tradition. He solos and comps beautifully. The group's individuals come together as a cohesive unit. It's a working band in the tradition of quintets led by Cannonball Adderly, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, and Art Blakey. This quintet is comprised of long time associates flugelhornist Rob Faulkner, saxophone, flutes and Percussionist Paul Lieberman, and bassist Dave Santoro, and newer musical friend drummer Hamir Atwal. The quintet's material was all written or selected by Jay Messer to highlight the band members' great musical gifts. Jay's original tunes are accessible to even a casual listener and carry a deeper message to the aficionado. This largely unedited collection of complete takes in the studio, presented in a performance sequence, draws the listener into the best seat in the house. THE MUSIC Fine solos abound in each track, and the arrangements subtly utilize a variety of combinations. The opener, Step Lightly, a wonderful tune by Benny Golson with interludes and a "shout" section, features the tenor sax and flugelhorn combination. Estate becomes orchestral when tenor sax gives way to alto flute. The blend of flugelhorn and the deeper toned flute create an exquisite sound, dark and full. Dreamline, with tenor sax, is classic bop contrafax. The blend of horns and guitar suggests a larger dimension. Summertime recasts the oft-played Gershwin standard in waltz time. Weepin' is played at a burning tempo that seems very fast...until you hear the closing track. The rarely heard song I Keep Coming Back to Joe's deserves to be better recognized and this instrumental version should certainly help. Monk's Ride and Concentration are built on established chord changes, in the process becoming new tunes with familiar undertones. The closer, Sly Exit is really fast. The band tears it up with precision, but not at the expense of feeling. This recording of a strong individual and group effort will pass the test of time and add greatly to the historic quintet tradition it so exemplifies. Listen...and enjoy! Bill Goodwin, a member of a quintet himself for 37 years, also went to high school with Rob Faulkner, a friend and musician of great importance in his life to this day.