Striving for the soulful essence, that's what Paul Carr aims for and ultimately achieves with this delightful new disc. An apt subtitle or guiding principle, might just as well have been back to the roots. For this date, Paul journeyed back to the source, to some of his original inspiration on the tenor saxophone, back to Houston, TX where his quest began. This date is indelibly influenced by that background: by the good times/high times joints in his neighborhood which exuded jazz and blues from their very woodwork, by the deeply moving sounds emanating from nearby churches with parishioners praying, rejoicing, and testifying to their glories and sorrows, by the clickety-clack presence of the trains riding the nearby rails -- what author Albert Murray referred to as railroad onomatopoeia--the incessant thrum of those rails. Those inspirations coupled with vivid memories of sitting at the feed of such Houston mentors as saxophonists Arnett Cobb, Don Wilkerson, and Conrad Johnson, are the raw mateials that Carr successfully melded to make this record. To plumb that essence and law down some straight-ahead business, Paul recruited a simpatico and highly skilled crew to lift, push and ably support his goal of sharing the origin of his musical soul. On guitar he engaged Chicago-based Bobby Broom, a versatile musician whose sparkling, stylish single note lines are agreeable in a variety of atmospheres. The pianist is the ever-swinging, church-steeped Allyn Johnson. On bass and drums Carr brought together two versatile musicians whose gifts have been sought after by all manner of recording artists, bassist Michael Bowie, and one of the classiest drummers on the scene, Lewis Nash. Rounding out the cast is percussionist Sam "Seguito" Turner, whose hard hands belie the sensitivity he brings to whatever setting he graces. The selections on this disc emphasize the soulful aspects of straight-ahead jazz music, the origins of which are blues and gospel. In the wrong hands "soulful" and "straight-ahead" can be convenient cruthches; fear not, these are decidely the right hands. While those comforting aspects are clearly in place, the playing here is deeply engaging and heartfelt.