Thelonious Monk: Criss Cross (1951 recording)


Criss Cross


Thelonious Monk (piano)


The Complete Blue Note Recordings (Blue Note 30363)

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Thelonious Monk (piano), Sahib Shihab (alto sax), Milt Jackson (vibes), Al McKibbon (bass), Art Blakey (drums).

Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: New York, July 23, 1951


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

        Thelonious Monk at Salle Pleyel (1954)
                Photo by Marcel Fleiss

Bebop pioneer Thelonious Monk’s piano playing may have been too eccentric for some listeners, but his compositions are universally admired. “Criss Cross” demonstrates Monk’s superior craftsmanship as a composer of miniature instrumental works. Although it follows the common song form of AABA, the A section comes in two thematic parts and the B section, rather than introducing an expected contrasting melody, utilizes as its basis the A themes in reverse order. And Monk’s improvisation develops the thematic material even further. As a result, the piece exhibits the continuity and cohesiveness characteristic of all well-structured compositions

Reviewer: David Franklin

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