Jazz Album of the Week: Coast to Crossroads—A Funk-Blues Trip
August 6, 2018. Over the years, saxophonist Rob Dixon has proven he can bring the funk. On Coast To Crossroads, the funk is still brought, and so is the rest of his musical capability.
Dixon's trio album also includes drummer Mike Clark, and 7-string guitarist Charlie Hunter, the album’s producer. Delaware Valley native Ernest Stuart, creator of the Center City Jazz Festival, is a featured trombonist. It’s a powerhouse group playing some powerful tunes, with a few fun surprises.
The jazz arrangement of the Tupac hit “California Love” is almost unrecognizable at first, and I mean that in a good way. It plays off the lyrics rather than the catchy Joe Cocker sample (“Woman To Woman”), a task that a less capable band wouldn't be able to accomplish.
The addition of the Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Wishing Well” is made joyous by Dixon, mixed with a little bit of the hypnotism Hunter does so well. The blues make an appearance, along with Dixon playing solo, on “It Could Happen To You.”
Only a group of veterans could make a funk-blues record so unique, and the addition of Stuart’s trombone gives these tracks the punch that makes them stand out.
Coast to Crossroads is an offering that won't be confused with anything else you’ve heard.