By Anthony Dean-Harris | Published July 2019
Day Of Reckoning is Dan Zinn’s fifth album as a leader and lead it he certainly does. The reedist is very much at the forefront of this music, the band patter for his play.
There’s a buoyancy to the music here, floating along with ease, the players seemingly having a good time. Most performances, though, are just warm, never scalding hot. “Continental Divide” gets enjoyably wild early on, until the tune shifts into a simpler gear, coasting like a straightahead tune that might even entice some smooth-jazz fans.
When Zack Ostroff takes his bass solo one-third of the way through the title track, it’s a lively moment, but one that feels mathematically placed when contrasted with the rest of the recording. It’s followed by a Taylor Eigsti solo, whose piano, too, seems carefully plotted on the penultimate song, “Don’t Look Back,” trading barbs back and forth with Zinn.
While the album offers glimpses of high-energy blowing, the vibe isn’t exactly sustained across the entire 10-track offering. For the most part, Day Of Reckoning is pleasant, right down to its easygoing version of “Blame It On My Youth.” Zinn has a clearly focused intent, a tight batch of compositions and collected the right folks to execute his ideas, giving the bandleader the backing necessary to shine.
Unfortunately, it also all feels too much like one man’s ideas. And while there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here, perhaps pulling more from the rest of the committee would have resulted in a more exceptional recording.
Day Of Reckoning: Day Of Reckoning; Longing; Continental Divide; Blame It On My Youth; Brave New World; Family Reunion; Infinity Road; The Journey Home; Don’t Look Back; Time’s Up. (64:12)
Personnel: Dann Zinn, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, wood flute; Taylor Eigsti, piano; Zack Ostroff, bass; Mark Ferber, drums.