Fun fact: the weekend that trumpeter Tito Carrillo recorded Urbanessence
, I played the late-night shows opposite his group at Andy's. I got to see this group up close and personal, crushing every twist and turn on these compositions, swinging and grooving effortlessly, and bringing intensity and excitement to every song in their sets. So, as you can imagine, I've been looking forward to the finished product for the last year or so. And that band is top-notch: Troy Roberts (sax), Ben Lewis (keys), Clark Sommers (bass), Jay Sawyer (drums) and Victor Gonzalez (congas). There is the undeniable influence of Roy Hargrove and early Wynton Marsalis upon the playing and compositions here, with "Fire & Ice" and "Justice & Mercy" being among my favorites.