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June 2001

New York Connexion
Crossing the Bridge
Sirocco Jazz

Crossing the Bridge is the second release for New York Connexion, most of whose members are Sirocco Jazz regulars who've worked together off and on for years. Trombonist Robin Eubanks served as leader-producer for the session, which also included altoist-sopranoist Antonio Hart, tenorist Craig Handy, pianist Michael Cain, bassist Lonnie Plaxico, vibist Joe Locke and drummer Billy Kilson, although they don't all play at the same time.

The performers provided all the tunes except Freddie Hubbard's "Little Sunflower" and Claire Fischer's "Morning." Although Eubanks' hard-boppish "NYC" generates uptempo excitement, and Locke's "This Is War" stirs things up similarly in a fusion mode, the overall character of the music is somewhat laid-back and calm. In spite of Kilson's constantly active role on the drums and some fiery solos by the others, the frequency of simple, stretched out melodies accompanied by sparse harmonic movement contributes to that general sense of serenity.

It's interesting to note that Hart's work, especially on soprano, is almost devoid of the strong Cannonball Adderley influence he exhibited earlier in his career. And while Eubanks' virtuosity is impressive, his double-timing sometimes makes it difficult for the listener to distinguish discrete pitches, causing them instead to be perceived as a blur. But maybe that's his intention.

All in all, Crossing the Bridge is a polished effort.

Originally published in June 2001
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