At a troubling and turbulent time, when many jazz albums seek to convey a "message," the only statement that Chicago-bred, San Francisco-based guitarist George Cotsirilos and his able quartet wish to make on Refuge is that swing remains king in their domain, wielding its magisterial influence over ten of Cotsirilos' sunny compositions and arrangements.
Even when Cotsirilos eases back on the accelerator, as he does on "The Three Doves" and "Smoke Signal," an undercurrent of persuasive rhythms reminds listeners what the ensemble is all about. Elsewhere, those rhythms are front and center as Cotsirilos shapes his musical patterns with unflagging support from pianist Keith Saunders, bassist Robb Fisher and drummer Ron Marabuto who have worked with the leader so often that their interplay is as smooth as it is seamless.
Cotsirilos' compositions are bright and amiable, dancing earnestly forward as they blend into an appetizing straight-ahead stew. Excerpt from All About Jazz