The kinetic energy on alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo’s 8th solo project, Threshold, pops like a Roman candle. This is thrilling modern bop, enriched by DiRubbo’s appreciation of the art and teachings of legendary Blue Note alto-saxophonist Jackie McLean. He sheds notes as fast as Jackie Mac, soloing with gratifying intensity and a hint of swagger that’s in lockstep with his quintet.
Throughout this well-ordered set of nine originals, trumpeter Josh Evans matches DiRubbo’s momentum with a flinty tone and tasty solos that dovetail well with the saxophonist’s bulletproof charts. Rounding out the rhythm section are three champions on the NY scene. It’s a treat to hear the soulful Brian Charette on piano (he’s often gigs on jazz records as a first-call organist), and along with bassist Ugonna Okegwo and beats master, drummer Rudy Royston, they seal the deal on this superb collection of dynamic no-nonsense originals that perhaps best recalls the Benny Golson/Art Farmer sessions from back in the day. Beautifully recorded and mixed, Threshold is one badass record that deserves to be played as loud as possible. (9 tracks; 57 minutes)