In the decade between the mid 1970’s and 80’s, American pianist/composer Stu Goldberg was a major force on the world jazz scene, working with the likes of John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, Wayne Shorter, and Freddie Hubbard before moving to Los Angeles in 1985 to pursue an award-winning career composing for films. Goldberg calls this landmark 1981 MPS album “one of my most favorite albums”. He had worked with versatile drummer Dave Crigger in the legendary Don Ellis Orchestra. Stu says of Crigger, “He could burn it up in any meter.” Bassist Jimmy Lacefield and Crigger had worked together in the jazz/classical group Free Flight, and Stu and conga player Lee Pastora had worked together in Al Di Meola’s first band. Stu’s brother, saxophonist Kenny Goldberg debuts on this album. Add a string quartet of crack LA studio musicians to the mix, and you have a combination that gave Stu a “broader sonic palette, while still allowing for extended improvisation.” The album begins in quintet with the funky Eye of the Beholder and moves on to New Love, featuring the strings’ romantic background along with Lacefield’s standout bass solo. Song Burst opens in a similar romantic feel before surging into a rollicking rock-influenced deluge with a freewheeling modal piano solo. After a meditative piano intro, Daybreak, Sunbeam gradually expands upward with a rich underlay of strings and the warm tenor melody before moving into bright, hard swinging jazz with brilliant solos by Stu and Jimmy, as well as some dazzling trading between drums and piano. Played as a solo piano piece, Daybreak centers on the meditative melodic intro of the previous piece, and Montreal ends the album as it began, in quintet. The piece has a Latin feel gone North, with brother Kenny taking solo honors on flute. An album in which Goldberg stylishly mixes funk, jazz, and a tinge of the modern classics into a picturesque masterwork.