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Criss Cross: Exploring the Music of Monk & Bill Evans


5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, Import, April 1, 2016
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Product Description

Pianist Florian Weber's career has developed very quickly in the last years, he splits his time now between Cologne, New York and Tokyo. He is no stranger to the demands and endless rewards of trio performance. On 'Criss Cross' (subtitled Exploring the Music of Bill Evans and Monk), Weber debuts another type of trio, this one with no bassist. Joining him in this homage to two of his major piano influences are two formidable musicians and leaders, Donny McCaslin and Dan Weiss.


Criss Cross, the new trio album by German keyboardist Florian Weber, is billed as a tribute to two of the greatest piano minds of the 20th century: Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. The album's sonic territory a welcome blend of compositions by these piano giants is standard fare. Weber's stylistic approach, however, is anything but. It begins with the album's personnel, which, in addition to Weber, includes the multifaceted drummer Dan Weiss and the boundary- pushing saxophonist Donny McCaslin. The absence of a bassist allows the trio to maneuver through harmonic and stylistic gears with fluid proficiency, as is the case on their treatment of Evans 't.t.t.t.,' which incorporates a rhythmic tic that renders the 6/4 time signature almost unrecognizable. Streamlining the dynamic even further, Weber will occasionally pare the group down to a duo, as on Evans' 'Time Remembered,' on which McCaslin exhibits a hushed, painterly sensitivity in dialogue with Weber's luxurious Fender Rhodes, and Monk's 'Ruby My Dear,' on which Weber and Weiss spar with terse, delicate phrases. As a stylist, Weber falls somewhere in the middle of the Monk-Evans spectrum, with a technique that favors slowly developing left-hand flourishes and an ear that tends toward close harmonic clusters. It's a style that shines brightest when Weber is left to ruminate on his own, as on the solo rendition of Evans 'Since We Met.' Weber's homage to his piano heroes is more a respectful gesture than an act of imitation, a notion reinforced by the inclusion of 'Judas,' a tune by Lady Gaga, into the middle of this 10-track program. Granted, there is a connection here Lady Gaga and Evans both worked extensively with Tony Bennett but Weber approaches the tune from a different perspective: 'The tune is a metaphor for giving everything a chance,' he says in the liner notes. 'You can find beauty.' With Criss Cross, Weber certainly has. --DownBeat Magazine

There's no manqueing around here as the piano man makes a bass less trio with two other rising contemporary all stars and plays piano tribute to the polar opposites of Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk.  With the right touch, you can take anything anywhere.  A sitting down set that  does it right, this piano jazz trio starts out with the good stuff and takes it home from there.  A sure treat for piano ears.  Well done.
Chris Spector
Volume 39/Number 136
March 16, 2016 --Midwest Record

Florian Weber is a tremendous pianist. --DownBeat Magazine

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Since We Met
  2. T.T.T.T
  3. Ruby My Dear
  4. Criss Cross
  5. Time Remembered
  6. Judas
  7. Four in One
  8. Spring Is Here
  9. Evidence
  10. 'Round Midnight

Product details

  • Audio CD (April 1, 2016)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Enja Records
  • ASIN: B017753IIG
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,036 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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April 21, 2016
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
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