With his majestic, barrel-deep, river-wide tone and let-it-loose improvisational style, tenor saxophonist Stewart--now 23 but just 21 when this CD was recorded--bears an uncanny resemblance to the Sonny Rollins who arrived on the scene in the early ‘50s.
Like that giant, Stewart can--as shown by “Koko” and “From This Moment On"--crank out gorgeous peals of notes with jack-rabbit urgency, slowing occasionally for the well-timed, gutbucket remark. In contrast, he can render a sweet melody like Strayhorn’s “Daydream” with tender simplicity.
A fine quartet accompanies the Toronto native. Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli is another impressive youth with a capacity for ingenious, heartfelt solos. Brad Mehldau (piano), Peter Washington (bass) and Kenny Washington (drums) keep the rhythm fires burning and improvise passionately.