RINGER OF THE WEEK Tenor saxist and composer Zem Audo puts together a highly exciting and textured album of originals. He boasts of a rich, strong and flavorful tone, delivering rich arias with pianist Benito Gonzales, all star bassist Ben Williams and drummer John Davis on "Bamijo" and caresses the melody with the kinetic team on "Muso." The brilliant decision on this album which makes it stand out is the inclusion of guitarist Mike Stern, who adds brilliant textures, formulations and solos on pieces like the upbeat and funky "Neon Lights," and when teams up for a 3 legged race with the Metheny alumnus Williams, creates some brilliant moments with the leader on the snazzy "Big Q" and is as rich as a Four Cheese pasta sauce as with a unison pastiche on "Spirits."
The band likes to lean toward soul grooves, and does a smooth job as Davis lays down an irresistible rivulet for Audu's horn on "Flow" while keyboard sounds get into a CTI mode for "Arcade" and the band forms a dance fest for "Moths." These guys have to go on the road together, as they promise so much here and deliver things that have to be seen to be believed.