Paul Shaw has been best-known as a supportive and swinging drummer who adds rhythmic excitement to large ensembles and small combos alike. While his drumming is excellent throughout Moment Of Clarity, his debut recording as a leader, it is also apparent that he is a very skilled composer. Shaw contributed all seven diverse originals for a notable quintet that features trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, guitarist Brad Shepik, pianist Gary Versace, and bassist Drew Gress. His frameworks on the pieces have Sipiagin, Shepik and Versace taking turns as the lead on the ensembles, cover a variety of moods, are filled with creative and concise solos, and showcase an attractive group sound.
The set includes such memorable pieces as the rhythmic “Shapeshifter” (which includes a particularly powerful trumpet solo), a haunting “Song For Everyone,” the catchy theme of “Mary Oliver,” the atmospheric title cut, and a rousing closer in the energetic and joyful “Showdown.” While Sipiagin, Shepik, Versace and Gress have their individual moments to shine, Shaw is content to drive and inspire the lead voices through his inventive compositions, restricting himself to taking a few drum breaks on “Shapeshifter” and “Showdown” along with a short solo on the blues “Peekaboo.”