Keith Crossan

Beatnik Jungle

For nearly 20 years, tenor saxophonist Keith Crossan has been a mainstay in the Tommy Castro Band’s lineup. A booting player with a full-bodied sound, he’s provided Castro with powerhouse accompaniment and well-wrought solos on each of the band’s 10 CDs. Here he’s stepped out on his own with the help of some of Castro’s other current and ex-sidemen. Trumpeter Tom Poole, long a guest on Castro’s CDs and a recent addition to the band, is on board, as is ex-bassist Randy McDonald. Ditto ex-drummer Billy Lee Lewis (who sparked Roy Rogers’ Big Room gig last year). Castro lends his tenor man a hand throughout and contributes a solid solo on “Blues for Mianna,” as does Poole (both on muted and open horn), and Crossan gets positively Lester Youngish! Crossan wrote the eight tunes and gives his band (the core unit of four guitars, trombone, keyboards and rhythm) some challenging charts with a big-band feeling. “Belle of Calpella” with piano, violin, cello and bass clarinet is a delicate piece of chamber music. “Paris” evokes a late-night mood while both “Out the Gate” and “Huggy Bare” rock out. Available at