Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

388

Thelonious Monk: Criss-Cross

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Thelonious Monk: Criss-Cross 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

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Columbia Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Umbrella Weather CD/LP/Track Review Umbrella Weather
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Born In An Urban Ruin CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs) CD/LP/Track Review Sanguinaria (Hopeful Songs)
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 24, 2017
Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review After Dark
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 20, 2016
Read "Happy All the Time" CD/LP/Track Review Happy All the Time
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Restless Idealism" CD/LP/Track Review Restless Idealism
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 26, 2016
Read "Bombogenic" CD/LP/Track Review Bombogenic
by Dave Wayne
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Interesting" CD/LP/Track Review Interesting
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Meditations on Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations on Freedom
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 11, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!