Gary Smulyan stands out among the handful of baritone saxophonists of the modern jazz era. He has recently been a featured soloist with the Vanguard Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Joe Lovano Nonet and the Dave Holland Big Band. "The Real Deal" gives Smulyan the opportunity to step into a leader role with his first CD in several years. He's assembled a quintet featuring the outstanding trumpeter Joe Magnarelli and the top shelf rhythm section of pianist Mike LeDonne, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Kenny Washington. In this empathetic setting, Smulyan is able to relax and stretch out with a nice mix of seldom heard standards and two of his own originals.