Steve Davis' fourth Criss Cross set as a leader has a different instrumentation than his previous sets. The trombonist is teamed with vibraphonist Steve Nelson and guitarist Peter Bernstein in a sextet/septet that also includes pianist David Hazeltine, bassist Peter Washington, drummer Joe Farnsworth, and (on three of the eight songs) altoist Mike DiRubbo. Davis, who in addition to being a Curtis Fuller-inspired trombonist is an underrated composer, wrote five of the eight songs and the band also plays Thad Jones' "The Summary" and one song apiece from Peter Bernstein and Leonard Bernstein ("Somewhere"). Despite the unfamiliar material, the swinging hard bop style is quite accessible to straight-ahead jazz listeners and the blend between the trombone, vibes, and guitar is quite attractive. All of Steve Davis' Criss Cross sets are well worth acquiring.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow