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Thelonious Monk - Criss-Cross

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Criss-Cross

Thelonious Monk

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Criss-Cross -- Thelonious Monk's second album for Columbia Records -- features some of the finest work that Monk ever did in the studio with his '60s trio and quartet. Whether revisiting pop standards or reinventing Monk's own classic compositions, Monk and Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), John Ore (bass), and Frankie Dunlop (drums) exchange powerful musical ideas, as well as provide potent solos throughout the disc. Fittingly, "Hackensack" -- a frenetic original composition -- opens the disc by demonstrating the bandleader's strength in a quartet environment. The solid rhythmic support of the trio unfetters Monk into unleashing endless cascades of percussive inflections and intoxicating chord progressions. The title cut also reflects the ability of the four musicians to maintain melodic intricacies that are at times so exigent it seems cruel that Monk would have expected a musician of any caliber to pull them off. "Tea for Two" showcases Monk's appreciation for the great stride or "walking" piano style of James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith. The arrangement here is lighter, and features a trio (minus Rouse) to accent rather than banter with Monk's splashes of magnificence throughout. Likewise, Monk's solo on "Don't Blame Me" is excellent. The extended runs up and down the keyboard can't help but reiterate the tremendous debt of gratitude owed to the original stride pianists of the early 20th century. The 1993 compact disc pressing of Criss-Cross sounds great and adds a version of "Pannonica" that was previously unissued at the time. Unfortunately, however, the liner notes originally used on the album jacket -- penned by "Pannonica"'s namesake, Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter -- were replaced by those of a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. This is prime Monk for any degree of listener. ~ Lindsay Planer

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Criss-Cross

Thelonious Monk

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1
Hackensack 00:04:18

Thelonious Monk, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1963. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Tea for Two 00:03:52

Thelonious Monk, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Teo Macero, Producer - Vincent Youmans, Composer, Lyricist - Irving Caesar, Composer, Lyricist

Originally released 1963. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Criss Cross 00:04:47

Thelonious Monk, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1963. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Eronel 00:04:35

Thelonious Monk, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1963. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Rhythm-A-Ning 00:03:58

Thelonious Monk, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Piano - Teo Macero, Producer - Frankie Dunlop, Drums - T. Monk, Composer, Lyricist - John Ore, Bass - Charlie Rouse, Tenor Saxophone

Originally released 1963. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Don't Blame Me (Retake 1) 00:07:10

Thelonious Monk, Associated Performer, Main Artist - Teo Macero, Producer - Jimmy McHugh, Composer, Lyricist - Dorothy Fields, Composer, Lyricist

Originally released 1963. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
Think of One 00:05:22

Thelonious Monk, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist - Teo Macero, Producer

Originally released 1963. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Crepuscule with Nellie 00:02:44

Thelonious Monk, Associated Performer, Composer, Lyricist, Main Artist - Teo Macero, Producer - Frankie Dunlop, Drums - Thelonious Monk, Piano - John Ore, Bass - Charlie Rouse, Tenor Saxophone

Originally released 1963. All rights reserved by Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

Criss-Cross -- Thelonious Monk's second album for Columbia Records -- features some of the finest work that Monk ever did in the studio with his '60s trio and quartet. Whether revisiting pop standards or reinventing Monk's own classic compositions, Monk and Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), John Ore (bass), and Frankie Dunlop (drums) exchange powerful musical ideas, as well as provide potent solos throughout the disc. Fittingly, "Hackensack" -- a frenetic original composition -- opens the disc by demonstrating the bandleader's strength in a quartet environment. The solid rhythmic support of the trio unfetters Monk into unleashing endless cascades of percussive inflections and intoxicating chord progressions. The title cut also reflects the ability of the four musicians to maintain melodic intricacies that are at times so exigent it seems cruel that Monk would have expected a musician of any caliber to pull them off. "Tea for Two" showcases Monk's appreciation for the great stride or "walking" piano style of James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith. The arrangement here is lighter, and features a trio (minus Rouse) to accent rather than banter with Monk's splashes of magnificence throughout. Likewise, Monk's solo on "Don't Blame Me" is excellent. The extended runs up and down the keyboard can't help but reiterate the tremendous debt of gratitude owed to the original stride pianists of the early 20th century. The 1993 compact disc pressing of Criss-Cross sounds great and adds a version of "Pannonica" that was previously unissued at the time. Unfortunately, however, the liner notes originally used on the album jacket -- penned by "Pannonica"'s namesake, Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter -- were replaced by those of a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. This is prime Monk for any degree of listener. ~ Lindsay Planer

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