Ben Kono Group
"When the short form ventures give way to the more expansive and patiently crafted soundscapes, Kono moves effortlessly among an entire palette of woodwind instruments, crafting elegant melodies and clear, economical improvisations. And although this recording showcases a wide variety of styles, from that of “Smoky Madtom Hoedown”—part Béla Fleck and part Steps Ahead—to the more straight ahead tenor-infused modal swinger “Tipping Point,” to the hard driving and panoramic “River of Fire,” all of the selections fall neatly into the overall voice and vibe of the album.
The instrumental performances on Don’t Blink are uniformly excellent within a warm blend of effortlessly rendered grooves, and adventurous though understated harmonic explorations. The solo passages are concise and perfectly proportioned to serve the overall ends of the compositions. The result is a beautifully crafted and earnestly presented work of art."
--College Music Symposium 7/10/2019
"...even without knowing the inspiration for each song, "Don't Blink" is filled with attractive melodies, impressive solos, fine interaction, and a mature yet adventurous attitude of on the part of Ben Kono and the ensemble. There are many of us who believe that the half-steps forward and full steps backward taken by the last two Presidential administrations (with the support of the Senate and the House of Representatives) have not come close to solving the issues inherent in the song titles. But, listener, keep an open mind when approaching this album - the rewards are many."
--Richard Kamins, Step Tempest 5/23/2019