After a brief stint with Blue Note, Lonnie Plaxico quietly released this fine live date in 2002 on his own label, PlaxMusic. It consists of highlights of two sets he cut with his band (featuring trumpeter Alex Norris, tenorist Marcus Strickland, pianist George Colligan, and drummer Nat Townsley) earlier that year while at the 5:01 Jazz Bar in Columbus, Ohio.
The recording quality leaves something to be desired, but the disc compensates in the form of some of the most exciting ensemble jazz recorded live in recent memory. The music is simply bashin' from start thru finish; certainly the youngbloods on board have something to do with the high energy. So too of course though does the very frenetic, hyperfunkified nature of Lonnie Plaxico's music; laser-fire horn parts blast over rumbling ostinatos and the completely pungent drum fills of Nat Townsley (Zawinul Syndicate).
The tunes included on this live date read like a "best-of" from Lonnie's two previous records as a leader, Emergence (Savant, 2000) and Melange (Blue Note, 2001). Staple set pieces "Delusion" and "Red Light District" are executed with panache and a palpable take-no-prisoners attitude. Indeed, Lonnie's crew blows hard on each and every track, and if you could possibly fault anything here, it's that stretching out is a given—thereby three tracks on the record stretch over 10 minutes apiece. Continue reading at ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM.