Trumpeter Jim Rotondi brings together vibraphonist Joe Locke and pianist Mulgrew Miller for this vibrant Sharp Nine date. Trombonist Steve Davis guests on two tracks and contributes the stately bossa "Evening Shades of Blue." The rhythm is handled by bassist Peter Washington and drummer Joe Farnsworth. Rotondi's horn work, at once elegantly melodic and technically dazzling, provides a sonic centerpiece for the album, although it is the juxtaposition of Locke's vibes and Miller's authoritative piano that gives the music its most unique signature. Locke's own "Last Ditch Wisdom," a fast line that takes its time settling into up-tempo swing, is one of the more surprising tracks. Rotondi weighs in with three originals: the opening "Designated Hitter," a bright modified blues; "Miller Time," a loping hard bop vehicle written in honor of the session's pianist; and the waltz "Reverence," a similar version of which served as the title track of a Criss Cross CD by Rotondi from around the same time. The non-original picks are inspired ones: Benny Golson's ballad "Park Avenue Petite," Herbie Hancock's seldom-played "Yams," and a snappy, muted-trumpet reading of Irving Berlin's "Remember," with Steve Davis reappearing on the bridge and taking a solo turn.
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AllMusic Review by David R. Adler