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Criss Cross


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Audio CD, April 6, 1993
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Criss Cross + Monk's Dream
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 6, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
  • ASIN: B0045DO7Z2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,354 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

His 1963 LP, one of Monk's finest and one of the best post-bop albums of the '60s. Includes three bonus cuts, two unreleased!

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
80%
4 star
16%
3 star
4%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 25 customer reviews
This is Monk at his very best plus Charlie Rouse, John Ore and Frankie Dunlop at the top of their game.
Allan Nash
Well, I don't know how well worked, but this was one of the albums that I remember really liking a lot, and I still have a tremendous fondness for it to this day.
Gobbledygook
Also, "Think of One" demonstrates Monk's ability to make one note an interesting and catchy melody.
Ren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Ren on July 28, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Thelonious Monk had signed with Columbia Records in the early 60's; because of this, he was able to get his music out to many more listeners than he could with his previous labels. His first studio album for Columbia is entitled Monk's Dream, and it introduced him to a lot of new listeners who had never heard of him. Criss-Cross is his second studio album for Columbia, and it is an awesome follow-up. In my opinion, it is better than Monk's Dream. Monk's Quartet here is: Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, Thelonious Monk on piano, John Ore on bass, and Frankie Dunlop on drums. This album is mainly Monk originals with the quartet, but there are also two standards which Monk interprets brilliantly.

The compositions by Monk are always brilliant. His best songs on this album are the dark and jagged "Criss-Cross", the slow and swinging "Pannonica", the sparse and colorful "Crepuscule with Nellie", and uptempo boppish "Eronel". But "Rhythm-a-ning" is also awesome because Monk puts a very original rhythmic melody to the rhythm changes, which is a bop cliche'. Also, "Think of One" demonstrates Monk's ability to make one note an interesting and catchy melody. So, I would say this album is a superb showcase of his compositions.

However, this album demonstrates something else about Thelonious: his ability to take a standard and transform it to make it sound like he wrote it. The main example of that is trio performance "Tea For Two". It starts with the bass playing the verse with only the drums. Then Monk comes in with the chorus, and you can tell he has done a lot of harmonic thinking with this. Another standout is his solo piano performance of "Don't Blame Me".
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on October 5, 2005
Format: Audio CD
For a legendary composer, Thelonious Monk seemed to get an awful lot of mileage out of the same songs-- given that he released dozens of albums with less than eighty compositions, this is no surprise. What IS surprising is how Monk could take these pieces and construct album after album of high quality music.

Case in point, "Criss-Cross".

His second album for Columbia, recorded over five sessions in late 1962 and early 1963, features his then-working band of Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, John Ore on bass, and Frankie Dunlop on drums, and they run through a handful of Monk originals and a pair of standards. Everything on here had been recorded before, but somehow yet again Monk gets even more out of his compositions.

Take opener "Hackensack"-- Rouse is so dry, brittle and edgy in his performance that Monk sounds as edgy as he normally does comping straight behind him. This contrasts against "Rhythm-n-ing", where Monk splatters beneath Rouse's breathy, lower register playing and Dunlop steals the show in his unnervingly brilliant performance. Likewise, fantastic perforamnces of standard "Don't Blame Me" (on solo piano, where Monk shows his strengths in patience and space), "Pannonica" (with a particularly angular solo from Rouse) stand out nicely.

This reissue is augmented by three bonus tracks-- a performance of the rarely heard "Coming On the Hudson" (which was originally recorded during these sessions but not used on this album) and a pair of alternate takes. All of the material is remastered (and sounds as if it could have been recorded yesterday), and both the original and new liner notes are included. Invariably, Monk manages to put forth strong performances time and again. Recommended.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Marsella on December 25, 2003
Format: Audio CD
A great remastered version of one of Monks' masterpiece recordings. Every selection here offers something unexpected and the entire CD swings like crazy. Monks comping on the title track Criss Cross behind Charlie Rouses's temor is something to behold. he is never where you think he's going and yet melodic and perfectly in the tune. This guy was really something special and this CD offers a chance to hear him at his peak. Buy it..you can't go wrong here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gobbledygook on November 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I had one of those moms that would play me cultured albums as a kid in between the usual children's records hoping that it would boost my intelligence and/or help me be a more free thinking person. Well, I don't know how well worked, but this was one of the albums that I remember really liking a lot, and I still have a tremendous fondness for it to this day.
Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, plays piano like Thelonius. His wonderfully percussive and angular style eccentric manages to sound both primitive & sophisticated simultaneously. At times, he almost sounds as if he's beating his angular chords into the piano, and yet every one of them fits into melodies that are sometimes lush, sometimes zany, sometimes witty or urbane, and always, always smart.
I think it's that "bonk" piano style on "Criss-Cross" that intrigued me as a child because here was a guy who played piano by smacking the keys & I could relate to that better than some of the other stuff mom put on. It was playful! He was having a good time while he improvised, and I could feel it even then.
However, Monk is far from being a musical neonate. This is a sophisticated & likable album. Tunes such Hackensack", "Rhythm-A-Ning" & his fantabulous cover of "Tea For Two" are ear opening jams that show that melody, hooks & suspended chords can work together to create modern art that is intriguing, dancable & very memorable.
Tenor sax & longtime Monk sideman Charlie Rouse remains the perfect accompanist for Thelonius. His wraps his lines around & between the piano's colors providing some articulate detail to the sketches. "Hackensack" is brilliant in this respect as is "Rhythm-A-Ning".
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