Chicago pianist composer Surace...if he were based in MY, LA or Paris he'd be know the world/round. He plays and writes in the mainstream vein, al la Bud Powell, Horace Parian, Red Barland, Dave Brubeck-but free of 'Classic' baggage. That's to say, his music is free of cliches, and Surace & Co. Don't sound like they're trying to turn back the clock to some idealized past jazz era. His compositions have infectious melodies and swing with genial assurance-they're never mere frameworks for 'blowing.' His tunes average around the 5-minute mark-there's no wasted or gratuitous playing. Everyone makes every note COUNT. Schneider's tenor is a joy: his sound comes out ot the neglected tenor masters Hank Mobley and Don Byas. The band plays as a unit, a band-this isn't just a thrown-together session. 'Nearly Blue' is mainstream jazz of the highest order, proof-positive that jazz doesn't necessarily have to be 'out' to be creative. Five and 1/2 stars, and well-worth seeking out. Mark Keresman/New York, NY ('Nearly Blue' has)...great, inventive compositions, tight band, featuring treat layers. This is a wonderful piano-sax (jazz) quartet. ...this CD exceeded my expectations. There are 14 pieces, over 71 minutes of music, spanning way wide range of styles, tempos and rhythmic feel. All within a mainstream jazz context. Surace is the composer on all pieces, the chord progressions are mostly new and unique...Ron is clearly influenced by Dave Brubeck and Errol Barner, I also hear traces of Ocsar Peterson in his technique. He can play with space, he can play with lots of notes, but he always sounds interesting and appropriate, whether soloing or comping. Rusty (drums) is an incredible percussionist...Eric (tenor) ...I hear whispers of Stanley Trrentine and Joe Henderson. ...Eric was a member of the last Basie band that actually had Count Basie in it. ...5 stars. Epinions.com (Saxguy).