A trombonist and composer of talent, vision and stature. That's John Yao. The debut of his quintet, In the Now (Innova 823), brings together some excellent players for a program of modern jazz that looks forward, establishing an identity among groups that place themselves staunchly in the jazz-as-art-not-entertainment tradition.
The compositions have substance, providing the improvisations with a set of contrasting frameworks that serve as launching and reference points throughout. The rhythm section cooks things up. Ingram is in the right places with the right sorts of things whether it be on Hammond, Rhodes or piano. Jon Irabagon has made a big impact on the scene as a young Turk on saxophone (here alto and soprano) and he lives up to that reputation with some fine work here. Yao shows he's a player to hear today, a trombonist who shows he is headed somewhere. The album is a winner! Give a listen.