There is a joy like no other that one experiences when one encounters a working band firing on all cylinders performing live. This recording is one such experience! Recorded live in concert on October 21 and 22, 1999, this shows a band at their peak. Steve Loewy's review says it all:
There is some amazing music in this version of the Fonda-Stevens Quartet, which, in addition to bassist Joe Fonda and Michael Jefry Stevens, includes the wonderful trumpet player Paul Smoker and the drummer Harvey Sorgen. Like other performances by this group (with shifting personnel), there are many elements of free jazz imposed on conventional structures. The results continue to intrigue, in the same way that Mingus incorporated a mélange of styles. Smoker is sometimes more restrained than usual, conscious, perhaps, of his role as sideman and sole horn. The compositions are complex, with tricky rhythms and tough chord changes, and he seems to enjoy it all. Stevens is a fine soloist, with a broad range of tricks that keep everyone on their toes. The sound quality is less than perfect, which is most noticeable on the vocals on the romping "Oh, Lord, Its Nice to Sit on Your Porch Today." The joys are immense, though, and the angular and challenging melodies bring out the best in the players.
This is a wonderful recording. Trust me on this.