Sommer's two original compositions are distinctive enough to make me want to hear more. 'Shoshin' is a moderate-tempo, somewhat mysterious-sounding piece with a haunting, catchy theme made all the more memorable by the unusual harmonies of the two tenors. Pianist Eric Gunnison, whom I know from his recurring role in trumpeter Ron Miles' various groups, turns in a fine solo here. This piece also features Sommer's most adventurous playing of the entire recording. The friendly, relaxed hard bop of 'Carpe Coffee' is a perfect showcase for Perry's fleet, yet angular phrasing - here he reminds me a bit of Joe Henderson. The CD opens with a succession of three well-chosen but little known classics. Kenny Dorham's 'Escapade,' a minor-keyed latin-tinged piece with alternating 6/8 and 4/4 sections, is a real beauty. Driven relentlessly by Todd Reid's bustling drums, Perry and Sommer seem to be bursting with good ideas here. Sommer has a somewhat edgier tone, sounding a bit like Joe Lovano or Michael Brecker at times. By contrast, Perry is a somewhat understated player, with a warm, burnished sound and an unhurried approach. The contrast between the two tenormen shows up particularly well on Bud Powell's 'The Fruit,' a medium-up hard-bopper. 'Dance Cadaverous,' by Wayne Shorter, is an incredibly pretty waltz that features fine solos by Gunnison and bassist Ken Walker, in addition to the contributions of both saxophonists. The quintet hits 'Think of One' hard, reveling in its oddness and angularity. I enjoyed the way Sommer closes out his solo, here - a sequence of dissonant split tones that would have had Monk himself dancing around the piano.
First-rate renditions of tried-and-true jazz standards round out this fine CD. The swirling, contrapuntal interaction of the two tenors on 'Alone Together' conjures the two-tenor quintet work of Pete Christlieb and Warne Marsh. Perry, Walker, and Reid bow out on the set's lone ballad, 'Round Midnight.' Here, Sommer luxuriates in Eric Gunnison's rather busy accompaniment. All in all, "Crossroads" is an excellent recording of modern mainstream jazz - not only is it well-played, but it sustained my interest all the way through, and it will present the discriminating jazz listener with many truly memorable moments.