Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

388

Thelonious Monk: Criss-Cross

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Monk’s first record for Columbia could be accused of being a safe bet since it features a selection of classic Monk tunes instead of new material. However, don’t dismiss it too quickly. On the original recordings of these songs, the pianist played as if he was chiseling the tunes out of marble, and part of the fun was listening to what seemed very much like composition in progress. These recordings, on the other hand, sound more like finished sculptures or polished works of art.

Perhaps Monk sensed that this would be the last time he would record these tunes in the studio, or maybe Macero gave him more takes to hone a flawless performance. Nevertheless, Criss Cross was (and is) a great way for listeners unfamiliar with Monk to experience him for the first time in slightly low-key performances of classic Monk tunes. None of the songs exceeds four minutes and offer an excellent cross section of Monk’s artistry, from the lively “Hackensack” to the artfully constructed “Criss Cross” with a couple of standards thrown in, of course. “Crepuscle With Nellie” is arguably the best rendition of the tune, with Charlie Rouse displaying an empathy and understanding that not even Sonny Rollins could find. Monk may have had more interesting sidemen in his past, but Rouse gave the group a reliability it previously never had. However, “Pannonica” (not on the original LP release but added as a bonus track to the previous CD reissue) meanders too long and “Coming on the Hudson” (a brand new bonus track for this release) is a complicated tune on which not even Rouse can find footing. At any rate, an excellent fresh start.


For related reviews, see Combing the Columbia/Legacy Catalog .


Track Listing: 1. Hackensack 2. Tea For Two 3. Criss Cross 4. Eronel 5. Rhythm-A-Ning 6. Don

Personnel: 1. Hackensack 2. Tea For Two 3. Criss Cross 4. Eronel 5. Rhythm-A-Ning 6. Don

Title: Criss-Cross | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Columbia Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Bringin' It" CD/LP/Track Review Bringin' It
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Rekihndled" CD/LP/Track Review Rekihndled
by Doug Collette
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "Vertical" CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Beloved" CD/LP/Track Review Beloved
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: October 10, 2017
Read "BACHanalia" CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 3, 2017