"Hell in Hat Yai," the name of the first track, composed by Jason Robinson draws you into the musical journey with a beautiful tone, a calling, beckoning horn of plenty, soothing your soul with a smooth warm tone. A driving bass line lays down the rhythm and the drummer swings around the rhythm with joyous abandon. A mix of musical genres develops, from funky bass lines to Latin percussive rhythms with jazz based drumming acrobatics and free jazz excursions.
The recording features some incredible playing by all members of the trio. Mr. Robinson displays his tenor saxophone skill on every track, some tracks more than others, with saxophone riffs fired off in every direction. "No More Net," "Think of Juan" and "Red Light" are some examples of excellent free-bop saxophone playing.
Excellent drumming prevails throughout the recording, never overpowering, always in the pocket and showing fine form, exceptional dynamics and plenty of taste. Paquito Villa does a superb job at inspiring his band mates, always complimenting where they are headed in the musical journey, sometimes leading with intricate rhythms, always creating a wonderful soundscape.
New Directions is a well produced, quality recording, from the packaging, CD cover, art work, liner notes, sound and songs. The professional image is important; presentation of the product goes along way in first impressions. Of course, the final product, the music, must be the main focus and if the music is lacking, packaging isn’t going to help. Cross Border Trio has it all, they are the complete package, check out their new album New Directions.