Don Braden (pictured), for one, is a greatly underrated saxophonist. Cincinnati-born and Louisville-bred, Braden cut his teeth with Lonnie Smith, Betty Carter, the Mingus Big Band and J.J. Johnson, among others. Braden keeps company here alongside drummer Carl Allen, trumpeter Terell Stafford, guitarist Bruce Arnold and Conrad Herwig on trombone. Mulgrew Miller, former Carter, Art Blakey and Tony Williams sideman and heir to McCoy Tyner's throne, is on piano and Cecil McBee, who started out on clarinet at Central State University, is on bass. McBee appears on the 1989 Grammy-winning Blues for Coltrane, a soulfully steeped Valentine. Any one of these players could be the leader, but the job will probably fall to McBee who has musical and chronological seniority and who's seen countless Jazz styles and players appear and fall from favor. This septet is a perfect gumbo of old and middle ground, traditional and burgeoning. They will play off one another like a game of cosmic, organic, high-speed handball.
At the Greenwich on Wednesday.
-- kathy y. wilson