The Origin/OA2 labels consistently present solid mainstream bop oriented jazz, and this disc from trombonist Chris Amemiya - his first as a leader - certainly fills the bill. It’s an enjoyable program of melodic and for the most part hard swinging music sure to please listeners who like their jazz with few frills and surprises without being shocking. Amemiya - not displayed himself as a composer on this date - is for the most part understated, and essentially a full member of the ensemble rather than their dominant leader. There’s a blues titled “The H.O.E.” and “The Lift” both ala Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, good unison playing during “Geezers On Parade,” and the sweet, low key “Firefly”. Jay Thomas plays solid trumpet and arranged “Secret Love,” nothing fancy but good key changes are included. The best track is saved for last, a rousing version of Cedar Walton’s “Bolivia” arranged by Amemiya with an original lead and wonderful voicings. On “Camarillo’s Daughter,” the individual sound of his trombone is heard more clearly. Amemiya’s first name translated in Japanese actually mean rain temple, so a rain shadow concept seemed logical. It’s a very decent debut recording that should yield a welcome follow-up by the leader asserting himself further, on
a compositional and instrumental level.