Customer Reviews: Crossing Jordan
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on April 3, 2003
Like a few other television shows, the producers of "Crossing Jordan" have used put a lot of effort to use songs to evoke moods in a situation rather than just use instrumentals to score the background. But rather than just using current music - or in a sense use the program as another medium to advertise current music ala "Smallville" - one strategy has been to reinvent some older songs that in some cases have become new standards.
Who better to turn to collaborate on such an endeavor than T-Bone Burnett. The team chose the songs, then rather than license original recording, used the approach of "Wouldn't it be cool if we got (insert artist here) to do this song". Evidently Burnett, as executive producer, lined up the artists and secured the clearances, but turned most of the actual production chores over to Craig Street (Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones, Jubilant Sykes), an astonishing producer himself. Street has a remarkable skill for leading his artists to get to the essence of the lyrics and then use the musicians to go to the same essence rather than provide a score to the singer. It's great fun to see how well, or even better, these new versions stand up against the hit versions.
Case in point is Ms. Wilson's version of Jimi Hendrix' "The Wind Cries Mary". Though the aural presentation of the song is almost narcotic ear candy, Wilson showcases the lyrics to present a mood and situation that truly tie the song into program's storytelling.
Richard Thompson's thrilling take on Donovan's "Season of the Witch" may be his most incendiary recorded performance since "Shoot out the Lights".
Sam Phillips has been better than most performers at capturing the feel of the Beatles "Revolver" in many of her songs, so it's almost ironic that her take on "I Wanna Be Your Man" is totally un-Beatley. Here the song travels into the Flaming Lips zone and finds a great home there.
The only real letdown for me is Lucinda Williams' version of Tom Wait's "Hang Down Your Head". She's one of my favorite artists, but I just can't connect with her here.
Herbie Hancock put out an album several years ago that showed how some songs of the Boomer years can become new musical standards to be sued to show the creative abilities of a new artist with older material. This album promotes that thought.
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on June 5, 2003
Have you ever been in a mood where you wanted to listen to beautiful, sad music just so you could feel? Not the "drink yourself in beer, my dog ran away, my wife left me" mood that you find in some country music (the kind that gives a perfectly respectable form of music its bad reputation among music purists), but the more understated, sophisticated, yet simple sounds of soft blues and jazz?

CROSSING JORDAN is a surprising treat, in part, because the music was recorded specifically for CROSSING JORDAN--in the same studio, with the same musicians for all the singers who contribute (except for "Black Coffee" a Rosemary Clooney standard perfect for the mood of this soundtrack.) "I Want to Be Your Man" by Sam Phillips (who also appears on another track) opens and "Black Coffee" closes an impressively together work and reminds you of the days when soundtracks (especially film) had a connection. Nowadays, films and tv shows pull anything off the music shelves and throw in on their albums. Not here!

Every song on here is gorgeous and the real treat is the star of CROSSING JORDAN Jill Hennessy. If you've watched the show, you know this girl has talent! If you don't watch the show (catch it in re-runs on A&E), then you're in for two good songs by an actress who can actually sing ("You're Innocent When You Dream" is haunting.)

Other stand-out songs:

"Buckets of Rain" by Vic Chestnut
"Hang Down Your Head" by Lucinda Williams
"The Wind Cries Mary" Cassandra Wilson
"Pale Blue Eyes" Joe Henry

So find a quiet corner, dim the lights, sit back in your chair or bed and just FEEL!
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on August 1, 2003
I'm not sure what this era in music will be remembered for, but it has certainly been marked by a glut of tribute and soundtrack albums. Like most various artists releases, the Crossing Jordan album is a decidedly hit and miss affair. Fortunately, when the cover songs and the artists match up well, the result is fantastic.
First the misses: I don't know why T-Bone Burnett would start off this great album with Sam Phillips' lethargic remake of the Beatles' "I Wanna Be Your Man." Oh yeah, that's right...he's married to her. Matching Phillips' somnambulent delivery is Lucinda Williams' vocal work on "Hang Down Your Head." I know she is an icon of sorts for the alt-country crowd but personally I find her singing annoyingly nasal.
The women who really shine on the disc are Alison Krauss, Cassandra Wilson and Jill Hennessy. Krauss sings "Can't Find My Way Home" like she wrote it. I know it is not a serious departure from the Blind Faith version, but in this case that's a good thing. Wilson, on the other hand, takes the Hendrix ballad "The Wind Cries Mary" and completely turns it on its head. Purists may balk but I like it. Hennessy's work is the most surprising since I had admired her acting but never knew she had such wonderful pipes. Both of her tunes are radiant--she sings with a voice both fragile and confident.
Of the men on display on the album I particularly love Vic Chesnutt's take on Dylan's "Buckets of Rain" and Richard Thompson's appropriately scary "Season of the Witch." Marc Anthony Thompson's version of the Kinks' "Days" is good, but every time I hear it, it makes me want to listen to the original.
Overall this is an excellent album. I would've given it a fifth star if T-Bone had left Sam at home. And I say that as someone who absolutely loves her album "Martinis and Bikinis."
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on March 28, 2006
This is a great compilation with some very exciting covers. What I really wish they would do is release a "greatest hits" CD for EACH SEASON. There is some superb music in that series - not just the great cover versions, but overall. Nearly every episode has a song that makes you sit up and take notice.

I would also be quite pleased with a CD of "Garrett's favorites". He listens to some excellent music on that old Victrola phonograph. I'd love to be able to gather them up on one CD (or two disc set).

My advice: Buy this CD. It has something for almost everybody and the price is great.
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on April 3, 2003
Yesterday's classics reinterpreted from a more modern point of view.
But this is definately not your typical soundtrack. All of the songs work well together. They have a very relaxing "jazz / blues" feel which makes this an ideal cd to listen to after a hard day at the office or a quite night at home burning the midnight oil (studying in my case)
The best track by far is "It's all over now baby blue" by Jill Hennessy. I say 'by Jill Hennessy' because she really makes this song her own, proving that this lovely lady is a talented singer in addition to being a gifted actress. Her singing is seductive, sultry and yet powerfully emotional, the kind that captivates the mind and inspires the heart and soul.
Listen to it, you'll be glad that you did
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on April 11, 2003
I am a fan of this show and one of the best things about it is the music. Every episode introduces the viewer to a great artist and their music. It is a little folksey, a little jazzy and a little sing at the top of your lungs in the car blues. And the icing on the cake is a little bit of Rosemary Clooney with a fabulous rendition of "Black Coffee". Hearing The Holmes Brothers for the first time I knew I would soon be out looking for their albums. Every track on the album has something to give and gives it with strength or subltety. I love this collection!
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on April 6, 2003
TV soundtrack CDs are boring! Once in a while someone shows some taste and picks some good songs like,The Gilmore Girls or The Sopranos. Crossing Jordan has done something original, they recorded songs that fit in with the songs they usually play on the show. Yeah, the taste is strictly boomer but the choices are original and the intrepretations are deep and heartfelt. Season of the Witch with Richard Thompson on guitar how rockin is that!!. So all and all is this is the best tv soundtrack cd since Miami Vice?
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on November 21, 2004
I have never before purchased a soundtrack because usually there is such a varience in the style of songs. But upon listening to song clips, I had to buy the Crossing Jordan soundtrack. The ones that stand out are Alison Krauss's version of "Can't Find My Way Home," Jill Hennessy's "You're Innocent When You Dream," and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," and Richard Thompson's "Season of the Witch." However, the entire album is fantastic listening. Jill has an amazing voice that captures the moody words, passion, and honesty of the songs she sings. It is worth it to buy the c.d. only for Jill's voice, and I must wonder why she doesn't have an album out. This is definitely well worth it for any fan of the show. I am in my first year of college, and I adore the it is not exclusive to the older ages. (My little sister wants this album for Christmas). The jazzy, blues feelings evoked by the songs and singers are fabulous for belting out. And I have to wonder: how come the blues make me feel so dang good?!?
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on July 18, 2005
I watch CJ whenever i can,and when i do,i find it very nice and entertaining,so when i heard some of the great songs on each of it episodes,i knew i had to have the soundtrack.But the only thing i regret is the lack of natalie merchant's songs,which are very good (my skin,one of the most gorgeous song i've ever heard).The thing i reproach to this CD is it tone too countryish.Don't get me wrong,i like country,but i don't think it fits very well the tone of the show,expect for a couple of tunes.Personally,i found the theme song nice,as i'm not a score fan,and the 6 first songs very good,then it starts to be a little plain,the holmes brothers songs are fine but how many versions of TROUBLE will be released?!...Jill hennessy (Jordan on the show) has a beautiful voice and chose well the songs she sings,then,vic chesnutt,joe henry and rosmary clooney's songs are good but not great.A good soundtrack for those who love old style songs and those who are into rock/folk songs like i do...
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on July 28, 2015
Surprisingly great little CD! I bought it for Alison Krauss' version of "I Can't Find My Way Home", not even bothering to look at the other cuts. Very pleased to find Richard Thompson's version of "Season of the Witch", Rosemary Clooney's version of "Black Coffee", Jill Hennessy's (who knew she could sing?) version of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" and Lucinda Williams' version of "Hang Down Your Head". Great easy listening music.
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