In the course of his career, Tom Harrell has left his mark across a wide range of styles, including propulsive bebop, rhythmic Afro-Cuban jazz, studied classical compositional procedures and soothing smooth jazz. In any Tom Harrell performance or recording you will search in vain for Freudian high-note jabs and dazzling displays of over-heated velocity full of empty technique. There's a remarkable ease and affability to Oak Tree, a recording which features melodies that occasionally sound as inevitable as life itself. And these melodies are played by a quartet which may be one of Harrell's most symbiotic ensembles; the fluency of superb pianist Luis Perdomo sometimes providing extensions and commentary to Harrell's improvisational thoughts, the extremely musical drummer Adam Cruz constantly adjusting both his tone and the intensity of his pulse as each composition dictates and bassist Ugonna Okegwo a secure, steady anchor and superb improviser. As for the leader himself, he favors concise, intense solos where the supremacy of his improvising abilities lies as much in what he chooses to leave unsaid as what he allows to peal out from the bell of his horn. You can write volumes and use any superlatives you like to describe Harrell's playing but, simply put, he is one of those rare figures who has extended the communicative possibilities of the jazz trumpet while establishing himself as one of the art form's most important composers.