Welcome to the official Criss Cross Jazz website!
Based in the provincial city of Enschede, in the eastern Netherlands, Criss Cross Records captured the aesthetic essence of cutting-edge hardcore New York jazz more consistently than any other label on 400+ albums recorded between 1981 and 2019. Founder Gerry Teekens (1935-2019), a linguistics professor by day and a semi-professional drummer by night, was a connoisseur of groove -- he operated by the motto, “If you have a great band, but not a great drummer, forget it.”More ...
On May 20, 2022 we are releasing Swing To This (Criss 1406) by Opus 5.
With Swing On This, the all-star quintet Opus 5 presents its fifth Criss Cross album, and first since 2015, when Criss Cross released Tickle (Criss 1383), which itself was preceded – in backwards chronology – by Progression (Criss 1369), Pentasonic (Criss 1351), and Introducing Opus 5 (Criss 1339), each recorded a year apart. The “all star” sobriquet is not an exaggeration – the collective discographies of trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, pianist David Kikoski, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Donald Edwards, all international first-callers, total more than 30 Criss Cross leader dates.
Opus 5 gestated in 2010, when Sipiagin and Blake, brainstorming over drinks at the bar in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport during a between-flights layover, decided to organize a new band to play original music that did not reference the music of Charles Mingus that they’d been playing together for many years in the Mingus Big Band, which Kozlov has music-directed since 2004. They recruited Kikoski, Kozlov and Edwards, each a colleague of long standing in the MBB. Edwards suggested the name, signifying on Kozlov’s big band arrangement of Mingus’ Opus 4 that all members admired. They contacted Criss Cross proprietor Gerry Teekens, who knew them all, and green-lit that first album in 2011. Through the next six years, “the five bandleaders and five sidemen,” as Kozlov puts it, enhanced their already considerable chemistry on periodic tours in Europe and Russia, developing material that they documented from one date to the next.
During the seven-year gap that separates Tickle from Swing On This, the members found fewer opportunities to play. Everyone was busy with other projects. Covid-19 made it problematic to convene. Blake and Sipiagin relocated to Europe. Then, last summer, when Blake scheduled a trip in New York to conduct personal business, Opus 5 seized the opportunity to go in the studio to record eight pieces with engineer Mike Marciano. With a single brief rehearsal under their belt, they navigate the repertoire with fluent mutual intuition and deep commitment, as though they’d been probing it for months.
The tenth Criss Cross album with David Binney’s imprimatur, A Glimpse of the Eternal, is, he says, “completely different than anything I’ve ever done – chilled out, an honest and pleasant vibe, nothing too complicated or intense.”
If that self-description seems at odds with the intense, complex tonal personality that Binney has presented on his 30-album discography since 1990 ... well, that was his intention.
Misha Tsiganov, who lived in Leningrad in the former Soviet Union until he emigrated to the U.S. in 1991, at 25, has never shied away from a challenge. That’s apparent from the levels of complexity that Tsiganov embeds in the 18 arrangements and 9 originals on his three prior Criss Cross albums – The Artistry of the Standard (Criss 1367), Spring Feelings (Criss 1384), and Playing With The Wind (Criss 1401).
Tsiganov’s latest, Misha’s Wishes, doesn’t eschew technical complexity. But the feel of this sophisticated, emotionally nuanced program – performed by old friends trumpeter Alex Sipiagin, tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards, themselves leaders of multiple Criss Cross dates, with whom Tsiganov feels such simpatico that he once postponed a recording session until all were available – is different than its predecessors.
On August 20, 2021 we are releasing The Color Of US Suite (Criss 1407) by Donald Edwards.
Timing is everything, and as Donald Edwards continues to make recordings, we are able to hear the clarity of his development as a composer and artist. This recording The Color Of US Suite carries with it the total range in expressions of the freedom concept, the obsession with hope through the infatuation of dreams - the disappointment, anger, and love for the framing of our evolving paradigm from within the prism of democracy. Donald captures those gradations of condition in a high-minded representation of passion, delivered with high-skilled precision, and soulful highs that are as exciting to the gutbucket enthusiast as it is intriguing for the high-brow aficionado.The Color Of US Suite signifies the idealism of being in pursuit, eye on the prize, and evince a passion for study, discipline and integrity required to handle this music’s greatest demands. Donald Edwards and fellow musicians Anthony Wonsey, Ben Wolfe, David Gilmore and Abraham Burton have succeeded, and we are edified all the more higher for them having done so.
On July 17, 2021 (Record Store Day) Criss Cross Jazz partner Elemental Music will release a limited-edition vinyl version of the seminal 1994 Criss Cross Jazz album Consenting Adults (Criss 1177) by the collective quintet M.T.B.
Recorded in New York City the day after Christmas in 1994 Consenting Adults provides a snapshot of five elite young improvisers -- pianist Brad Mehldau, tenor saxophonist Mark Turner, guitarist Peter Bernstein, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Leon Parker -- at the start of their career.
In the future Elemental Music will release more classic Criss Cross Jazz albums on vinyl, under license from Criss Cross Jazz.More ...
Leading jazz website All About Jazz published the Winners Of The 2020 All About Jazz Top Jazz Record Labels reader's poll on January 4, 2021. Criss Cross Jazz ended in a respectable 24th position in the top 50 list of this poll.
We want to thank the readers of All About Jazz for their votes for and confidence in the label.
We are working hard to make most of the 400+ albums in our catalog available again, so if you've missed some CD in the past, be sure to check again!
We have also started working on new releases. And last but not least, multiple titles will be reissued on vinyl in 2021.
Criss Cross Jazz congratulates Lage Lund with his win in the category Rising Star - Guitar of the 68th Annual Down Beat Critics Poll. Complete results of this year's election can be found in the August 2020 issue of Downbeat Magazine.
On February 15, 2019 we released Terrible Animals (Criss 1402) by Lage Lund, his fifth album as a leader for Criss Cross Jazz.
Lage Lund recorded his first album Early Songs ((Criss 1307) for Criss Cross Jazz in 2007. After that he followed on over the years with Unlikely Stories (Criss 1321), Foolhardy (Criss 1360), Idlewild (Criss 1376) and the already mentioned Terrible Animals (Criss 1402).More ...
On June 2, 2020 we are releasing From Here To Here (Criss 1405) by David Gilmore.
This release is a tribute to my father and our grandpa Gerry Teekens Sr, founder of Criss Cross Jazz who passed away October 31, 2019.
Jerry Teekens Jr, Bo Teekens, Amber Teekens.
The notion that nothing spurs the creative process like a deadline fully matches the back story of David Gilmore’s second album for Criss Cross, on which the 54-year-old guitar master navigates eight never-recorded compositions of both recent and older vintage, and a pair of well-wrought covers.
On May 6, 2019 After Life (Criss 1404) by Noah Preminger has been released.
In his program notes to his second Criss Cross album, After Life master tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger writes that, as per the title, the seven original songs on the date "pertain to a world that we may inhabit when we leave Earth."
Terrible Animals is perhaps the most compositionally ambitious and daringly performed of Lage Lund's five albums on Criss Cross.
Matt Brewer's third Criss Cross leader album, Ganymede, follows a pair of inspired ensemble recordings (Mythology. Criss 1373; Unspoken, Criss 1390), for which the master bassist convened some of the most accomplished individualists of 21st century jazz to interpret original music that showcased Brewer's sophisticated compositional skills, lyric gifts, and state of the art chops.
For information on earlier releases, directly turn to:
or check the complete Criss Cross Jazz Release Index.
A 30-second audio sample of each song for virtually every record in the catalog can be found on this website. You can play the samples directly from the album web pages by using the and buttons. The only requirement is that your web browser supports playing MP3 files through the <audio> tag (most do). If you have any technical problems with this, please report them to and don't forget to mention your operating system and browser version.