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March 2001

Jim Rotondi
Excursions
Criss Cross Jazz

The lineup on Rotondi's Excursions is actually the sextet One for All minus drummer Joe Farnsworth; his replacement is the redoubtable Kenny Washington. The group's sound echoes the Hubbard-Wayne Shorter-Curtis Fuller-Cedar Walton version of Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Rotondi's "Shortcake" opens the album in a minor key, with the leader in a perky mood and Davis strongly reminiscent of Fuller. Next, the trumpeter's arrangement of Bobby Hutcherson's "Little B's Poem" resonates with tasty horn voicings and another bracing round of solos. On pianist David Hazeltine's uptempo chart on "Angel Eyes" Washington heats it up with great New York bebop drumming behind the soloists. On Benny Golson's easy-going "Little Karin" tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander exercises his fat tone and a best take-your-time approach.

Throughout the album, Rotondi projects both incisiveness and warmth in his trumpet playing. Peter Washington's strong bass playing and Hazeltine's varied, rhythmically stimulating accompaniment add to this most likeable session.
In the liner notes, Rotondi mentions his admiration for not only Hubbard and Shaw, but also Booker Little, Kenny Dorham, Lee Morgan and Blue Mitchell. Actual salutes to these trumpeters and others comprise the Lynch album.

Originally published in March 2001
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