Melton Mustafa left the Count Basie ghost orchestra in 1992, but his love of Basie's music was still with him in a major way when he formed his own big band and made his recording debut as a leader with 1995's Boiling Point. Boasting five trumpeters (including Mustafa himself), nine saxophonists, four trombonists, and a rhythm section, this is definitely one of the funkier and more colorful big band recordings of the 1990s. All of the adjectives that describe Basie's outfits--gritty, hard-swinging, soulful and earthy -- describe Boiling Point as well. One shouldn't, however, mistake that Boiling Point is a knee-jerk Basie tribute album, or that Mustafa's band is a replica of the Basie ghost orchestra. Mustafa is definitely his own person, and it comes through on such exuberant originals as "Some Kind of Blues," "Where There's Smoke," and "Blind Love Blues." Furthermore, Basie is hardly Mustafa's only influence -- one also hears the influence of everyone from Oliver Nelson to Duke Ellington on this album. Those who think of post-swing jazz as overly intellectual and inaccessible need to give Boiling Point a listen -- a lot of soulful, hot-blooded testifyin' is heard on this captivating debut.