Vinyl Vlog 103

Vinyl Vlog 103

Thursday, 26 November 2015
TITLE: Vinyl Vlog 103
A deeper look at the grooves pressed into Criss Cross by Thelonious Monk.
DATE: 11-26-15
WRITER: Ollie Ottoman

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There’s nothing I like better than trading favorite albums with friends. That friendly filter applied to the music we’re consuming goes a long way, and it’s still my highest recommendation when I’m asked what the best way is to find new music.

It was in the Summer of 2005, right before I went to grad school, that a coworker recommended Mils Davis’ Birth of the Cool and John Coltrane’s Blue Train. As I struggled to absorb them, I dedicated myself to find the great albums and get to the bottom of what this whole jazz thing was about. So of course, Thelonious Monk was introduced into my life (luckily with my still-favoriteStraight No Chaser), and I became proud to call myself a Monk guy, even though I still don’t know what the hell that means today.

Although I gravitate toward the older Monk stuff like Straight No Chaser and Underground (albums like Brilliant Corners just don’t demand my attention like these aforementioned albums do), Criss Cross is a pleasant album which transitioned smoothly to his later career, and I was surprised that I felt a connection to these songs like I had only experienced with Underground and Straight No Chaser, despite Criss Cross having a significantly more upbeat sound. “Hackenstack”┬áserves as a perfect opener for the up-tempo songs to come like “Criss Cross,” “Enonel,” and “Rhythm-A-Ning.” Perhaps this is a happier Monk, but it’s most certainly good Monk.

When I first arrived in grad school I was discussing music with a professor and told him I’d been listening to Davis and Coltrane. “There’s no one else,” he said. “Well, there’s Thelonious Monk, of course.”



Criss Cross
remains in print. Buy it here on Amazon .

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