Exploring rhythmic and melodic zones not only frees the improvisor from pre-conceived licks that don't swing, it also profoundly affects the way the composer/arranger hears and writes. Mike Longo has been playing in that zone for a long, long time: as a teenager with Cannonball Adderley, as a young piano student of Oscar Peterson, and finally as a mature artist with lifelong associations with Dizzy Gillespie and James Moody. His composition and arranging role models are equally profound: fellow Gillespie alum Lalo Shifrin, Quincy Jones, the great Benny Carter, Don Sebesky, Thad Jones, Gil Evans, and of course Dizzy and Gil Fuller. With such strong, deep influences and a hyperawareness of rhythmic and harmonic subtlety, Mike writes some pretty amazing stuff. Matt Snyder.