The Yao Smith Hughes Sextet brings a fresh, new set of original compositions following in the footsteps of the straight-ahead jazz tradition of Detroit. Hard-bopping melodies, tight 3-horn arrangements, colorful voicings, driving swing feel and soulful grooves are all trademarks of The Gates. Detroit trumpeter Jimmy Smith and saxophonist James Hughes are joined by New York trombonist, composer and arranger John Yao forming a co-lead ensemble. Besides being fresh and intriguing improvisers, all three are band leaders and formidable composers in their own right with ample portfolios. The collaboration between the three musicians started at a session in New York City a few years earlier where each one brought a few tunes to play. They quickly realized they were musically on the same page and this set the wheels in motion. Each co-leader contributes several well-crafted arrangements of original compositions spanning from subdued to passionate, cerebral to fiery, and gritty to refined in approach.