Gerald Wilson's latest album, a homage to the coastal California town of Monterey, contains plenty of talent but doesn't have a lot to show for it. Stuck somewhere between smooth jazz, classical and big band, the recording is ultimately repetitive and anticlimactic. The main interwoven theme echoing through the five-part, 44-minute "Theme for Monterey" becomes monotonous in the end, with the band's horns rarely used to their full potential.
The CD's saving grace is Wilson's guitarist son Anthony, whose solos shimmer on "Lyons' Roar." His virtuosity shines in a bluesy interpretation of George Gershwin's "Summertime," which conjures moods similar to those produced by Wes Montgomery's '60s jazz-orchestra masterpieces. A cover of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie's "Anthropology" makes better use of the horn section. Overall, it's a work best described as "softcore" big band.