There was a time when it seemed as if nearly all of the world class jazz performances took place in the larger cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New Orleans. Musicians who played in smaller towns were thought of as minor leaguers who, if they ended up being talented, would eventually migrate to the bigger cities. That is no longer the case, for nearly every geographical area has it's major talents. While one would not think of Richmond, Virginia as being a hotbed of jazz, it is the home base for bassist Jason Jenkins, saxophonist Kevin Simpson, pianist Anthony Dowd and drummer Billy Williams, each of whom could compete well in any other city. In addition to appearing in clubs and at festivals, Jenkins has recorded for soundtracks and studio work and has led eight previous CDs before the newest one which features his long-term group. The three songs on Urban Vernacular, all originals of Jason Jenkins, each have their own distinct personalities and inspire the musicians to stretch themselves. "Acceptance," a modal jazz waltz, introduces the quartet quite effectively. Simpson takes the lead on soprano, playing with passion and fluency while not being shy to dig deep into the tune. Pianist Dowd displays plenty of spirit during his spot before Jenkins takes an assertive bass solo that is both rhythmic and melodic. The eight and a half minutes are well spent. "Urban Vernacular" has a quirky melody and tricky chord changes. No matter, Simpson glides effortlessly over the chords, coming up with inventive ideas. Dowd's solo at various times hints at Red Garland, McCoy Tyner and Gene Harris without copying any of those giants. He combines aspects of their playing as part of his own fresh musical personality. The concluding "Can't Win For the Shape I'm In" is a medium-tempo blues that really let's the players stretch out. Dowd goes first and then Simpson creates a solo that finds him hinting as much at a pair of boppish tenor-saxophonists who doubled on soprano (Zoot Sims and Lucky Thompson) as at John Coltrane. After another fine statement from Jenkins and a few ensembles, Dowd takes the piece out in soulful fashion before the leader has the last word. Not to be overlooked is the excellent supportive work of drummer Williams, whose commentary behind the soloists is both stimulating and swinging. The Jason Jenkins Quartet's latest recording serves as proof that not all significant jazz comes from the biggest cities, and shows that Richmond, Virginia may very well deserve a re-evaluation by the jazz world. . Scott Yanow, Author of nine jazz books including Bebop, Swing, Jazz On Record 1917-76 and Jazz On Film.