When CDs contain mostly or exclusively original music, I look for one primary characteristic. If I can?t find it, the CD is usually not a prime candidate for review. It?s as simple as ? a well-defined melody. If that?s old-fashioned, so be it. But I lose my sense of direction when I can?t discern a melody as a foundation for the improvisation which follows. I know nothing of Richard Sussman other than he?s probably a New Yorker (judging from the recording studio in New Jersey.) But that aside, I have to give him credit for writing distinguishable and distinguished (!) melodies. Apparently some other cats know about Sussman. He employed Randy Brecker on trumpet and flugelhorn and the rarely heard but greatly respected Jerry Bergonzi on tenor sax. They?re joined by Mike Richmond, bass and Jeff Williams, drums. Mike Stern?s guitar also shows up on one cut, the overly electric ?Mike?s Blues.? There are two standards: ?Alone Together,? from the American Songbook, and ?Theme For Ernie,? a sumptuous tune of slightly more recent vintage featuring Bergonzi at the top of his game. I?m not, as you most likely know, a proponent of the synthesizer, but it?s used very sparingly here. The remaining selections, all Sussman originals, showcase a versatile composer and strikingly good pianist, who writes real melodies!