Seattle-based saxophonist Hadley Caliman, recently reemerged after close to 30 years in obscurity, with his latest Straight Ahead
on Origin Records. Back in the 1970s, Caliman was the saxophonist of choice for artists ranging from Santana to McCoy Tyner. As the title of this CD implies, this is a straight-up, no-holds-barred, hard bop-oriented session in the vein of classic Blue Note recordings by Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan and Caliman's main role model, Dexter Gordon. Working in a classic quintet format, Caliman's playing is at times subtly forceful, as on Morgan's "Totem Pole," and sublimely lyrical, heard to great advantage on a stirring rendition of Billy Strayhorn's enduring "Lush Life." It's a stunning return to the jazz limelight for this superb musician.