Drummer Mike Melito’s Quintet date finds a beautifully integrated band of musicians, who gel with a sound as smooth as silk thanks in no small part to the leader’s drumming. Crisp, sharp, and precise, Melito has superb dynamic control with exemplary cymbal work.
Grant Stewart also impresses with his richly handsome tone showcased nicely on “Don’t Blame Me” -while pianist Dino Losito has a pleasingly economical style that pays off well, in both solo and accompaniment modes. A reharmonized, uptempo “You Don’t Know What Love Is” is another potent performance, with a rangy tenor solo by Stewart. Joe Magnarelli also has a memorable trumpet tone, recalling the crackling excitement of 1960s Blue Note stalwarts such as Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard. Combining both unerring precision and nuance, The Next Step is about as good as it gets for the modern mainstream.
Cadence Jazz Magazine