Tuba player Bob Stewart's CD came out about the same time as Howard Johnson's Gravity release, and Stewart suffers by comparison. Bluesman Taj Mahal contributed the much too talky "Big Kneed Gal" and very tedious "Fishin' Blues." Carlos Ward's "Nubian Stomp" is at best uninspired reggae, while his street strut "Nette" barely gains headway in spite of trumpeter Graham Haynes' spirited solo.
This relaxed disc (recorded in 1981 but released for the first time in 1994) sounds a bit like Pharoah Sanders (in one of his peaceful moods) meeting the rhythm section of Miles Davis's Bitches Brew. The use of the late Gene Adler's kalimba adds atmosphere to one song and his piano is a major asset during the lengthy episodic exploration of Annette Peacock's "Skin on Skin." Ralph Simon's soprano recalls Wayne Shorter a bit in spots, he cooks on tenor during "Gepetto" and his solos are consistently thoughtful and full of purpose. With sympathetic support from one of two rhythm sections, Simon constructs an interesting set of moody music.