Thelonious Monk – Criss Cross


Criss-Cross is the result of five sessions with the ever-present Charlie Rouse on tenor plus the rhythm compliment of drummer Frankie Dunlop and bassist John Ore. It was recorded at a time when Monk had actually become a popular beat icon; his iconoclast mug appeared on the cover of Time barely a year later.

While the majority of the material here is Monk’s, his whimsical way with the two standards, “Tea For Two” and “Don’t Blame Me,” makes them special treats. The former is like an old suitcase bursting at the seams with zany new toys, the melody rife with Monk’s truncated chromatic tails, his solo chunky with erratic-sounding bass comping, all of it amusingly bookended by the tongue-in-cheek straightness of Ore’s intro and Monk’s final toy-piano notes. By contrast, Rouse stays true to the compartmentalized quality of the head on “Criss-Cross,” blowing short, dense strands that sound like the flight path of a beatnik butterfly as Dunlop responds sympathetically, all the while maintaining a solidly swinging base. Criss-Cross is choice Monk finery.


01. Hackensack
02. Tea For Two
03. Criss Cross
04. Eronel
05. Rhythm-A-Ning
06. Don’t Blame Me (Retake 1)
07. Think Of One
08. Crepuscule with Nellie
09. Pannoica (Take 2)
10. Coming On The Hudson (Take 3)
11. Tea For Two (Take 9)
12. Eronel (Take 3)

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One Response to “Thelonious Monk – Criss Cross”

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