Thelonious Monk – Criss-Cross – Our Shootout Winner from 2009

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Jazz Hall of Fame.

WONDERFUL MUSIC, DEMO QUALITY SOUND, and QUIET VINYL! I wish more Blue Note records had this kind of sound — natural, full-bodied, and sweet up top. The bass here is well-defined with real weight and lots of punch. Monk’s piano sounds correct from the highest notes all the way down to the lower register, and the sax sounds JUST RIGHT — totally free of the RVG squawk. ’The clarity and transparency are superb throughout. AMG raves about the album and calls it prime Monk for any degree of listener and we couldn’t agree more.  

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Hackensack 
Tea for Two 
Criss-Cross 
Eronel

Side Two

Rhythm-a-ning 
Don’t Blame Me 
Think of One 
Crepuscule With Nellie

AMG 4 Star Rave Review

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…

This is prime Monk for any degree of listener.