Personnel: Kenny Barron (piano); John Stubblefield (tenor saxophone); Wallace Roney (trumpet); Cecil McBee (bass); Victor Lewis (drums).
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on February 17, 1986.
Pianist Kenny Barron leads a quintessential post-bop quintet on 1986's WHAT IF? with help from the contemporary jazz star trumpeter Wallace Roney, and the British tenor saxophonist John Stubblefield. Except for Thelonious Monk's "Trinkle, Tinkle," these compositions are all Barron originals, and what is most striking is how much these tracks--"Phantoms" and "Voyage" especially-- sound like a typical Herbie Hancock or Hank Mobley Blue Note session of the late-'50s and early-'60s, just as the post-bop idiom was being defined. The prodigious pianist displays his Bud Powell-like virtuosity on the aptly titled "Dexterity," slowing down the tempo just enough for the intricate ballad "Close To You Alone." Veteran bassist Cecil McBee and the versatile drummer Victor Lewis provide supple support throughout the set.