Rolling Stone - 10/02, p.683 stars out of 5
- "...Sophisticated backbeat music that never dissolves into the dreaded endless jam."
Karl Denson's Tiny Universe: Karl Denson (vocals, alto & tenor saxophones, flute); Chris Littlefield (trumpet); Mike Dillon (vibraphone, percussion); David Veith (keyboards); Brian Jordan (guitar); Ron Johnson (bass); Zak Najor (drums).
Additional personnel includes: Saul Williams, Michael Franti (vocals);
Roy Hargrove (trumpet); Fred Wesley (trombone); Lonnie Smith (organ).
Recorded at Big Fish, Encinitas, California; Bob Lang, Seattle, Washington; Elgonix Labs, Hollywood, California, Chicago Trax, Chicago, Illinois, Electric Lady Studios, New York, New York.
Personnel: Karl Denson (vocals, flute, tenor saxophone, background vocals); Michael Franti, Saul Williams (vocals); Fareed Haque (electric sitar); Louis Taylor, Jr. , Skerik (baritone saxophone); Chris Littlefield, Hugh Ragin, Roy Hargrove (trumpet); Fred Wesley (trombone); Robert Walter (Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet); David Veith (Fender Rhodes piano); Lonnie Liston Smith (organ); Mike Dillon (vibraphone, tabla, percussion); Chris Wood (acoustic bass); Elgin Park (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Russell Elevado.
Recording information: Big Fish Studios, Encinitas, CA (01/02/2002-01/06/2002); Bob Lang Studios, Seattle, WA (01/02/2002-01/06/2002); Chicago Trax, Chicago, IL (01/02/2002-01/06/2002); Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY (01/02/2002-01/06/2002); Elgonix Labs, Hollywood, CA (01/02/2002-01/06/2002).
Photographer: C. Taylor Crothers.
The Bridge is a fairly straightforward document of Karl Denson's live performance. Though there are plenty of guests on the disc -- including poet and activist Michael Franti, poet Saul Williams, funk trombonist Fred Wesley, and jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove -- that's not too unusual for Denson and company. Denson himself regularly turns up on others' stages and just as frequently invites guests to sit in with his own Tiny Universe. The music is an eclectic mix of funk and R&B approaches. The playing is straightforward and energetic across the board. The sonically adventurous cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Check out Your Mind," with its multi-layered textures, is a standout track. Pop studio man Russ Elevado mixes the band sympathetically and warmly, with each instrument obvious in the mix without ever being overbearing. ~ Jesse Jarnow