Criss Cross Jazz new release June 2023

New release June 2023 Read the web version
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Criss Cross Jazz new release June 2023

Here is the new Criss Cross Jazz release for June 2023, which will be released on June 30. All details can be found on the website:
Cover Manuel Valera - Vessel
Manuel Valera - Vessel

Manuel Valera advises his students at New York University to write music every day. “I tell them that composition is essentially another instrument – the more you practice, the better you get at it,” says the 42-year-old piano master, who, by his count, has generated some 200 recorded pieces since he entered the fray in the early aughts.

Vessel, Valera’s second album for Criss Cross, showcases eight recent works, each “honoring a different person who’s influenced my music.” Valera made it in January 2023, nine years after presenting another eight originals on In Motion (Criss 1372) which featured a slamming iteration of his New Cuban Express ensemble, whose eponymous first CD had earned a 2013 Grammy nomination for “Best Latin Jazz Album.” The pieces on that straight-eighth oriented session mixed elements from various Afro-Cuban dialects with postbop, fusion jazz, funk and R&B, incorporating intricate beat modulation, odd meters, and intriguing ensemble color.

On In Motion, as on most of his 16 albums since 2004, Valera established the compositions as “the complete framework for the improvisations – although the solos, of course, are also important.” But here, as indicated by the title, Valera diverges, constructing pieces that are “vessels for improvising, like they wrote them on the old Blue Note records. You play the tune, you blow over the tune, then you play the tune again – the improvisation is as important as the composition. A lot is going on, but there’s still that connection to the older tunes – and a couple sound like they could have been from way back.”

The album was recorded January 26, 2023 at the Samurai Hotel Recording Studio in NY. Recording engineer Mike Marciano also did the editing, mixing and mastering at Systems Two in NY.
Criss Cross Jazz 1416 CD
Manuel Valera and New Cuban Express - In Motion
Criss Cross Jazz 1372 CD
Brian Lynch and Spheres of Influence - ConClave vol. 2
Criss Cross Jazz 1331 CD
Cover David Hazeltine Trio - Blues For Gerry
David Hazeltine - Blues For Gerry

Pianist David Hazeltine has a history with Criss Cross. To be specific, between 1995 and 2010, Gerry Teekens, the label’s founder, presented eight albums on which Hazeltine led trios, quartets and quintets featuring his impeccable, individualistic pianism, original compositions and arrangements; another five with the cooperative all-star sextet One For All (tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, trombonist Steve Davis, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, bassists Peter Washington or John Webber, and drummer Joe Farnsworth), whose grooving, harmonically acute charts bear his stamp; and another 17 as a sideman with the aforementioned luminaries, trumpeter Brian Lynch, alto saxophonist Jim Snidero, and other high-level jazzfolk who now hold pride of place in the hardcore jazz ecosystem.

Hazeltine returns to the fold with Blues For Gerry, his first Criss Cross leader date since Inversions (2010, Criss 1326), a lovely quintet date that included Alexander and vibraphonist Steve Nelson. Recorded in a single six-hour session on December 1, 2022, it’s his third state of the art trio recital for Criss Cross with modern masters Peter Washington and Joe Farnsworth, following the equally accomplished Perambulation (2005, Criss 1276) and Close To You (2003, Criss 1247).

“Gerry Senior liked those albums, and his son Jerry Teekens, Jr. asked me if I’d put together that same trio,” Hazeltine said in March, a day after returning from a 20-day tour of primarily one-nighters in Europe with drummer Bernd Reiter and bassist Aldo Zunino. “I have fond memories of working for Gerry. He was a pretty hands-off producer, and let me do what I wanted. His one request was always, ‘there’s got to be a blues; it’s not swinging if there’s no blues.’ So I wrote Blues for Gerry.”

Criss Cross Jazz 1415 CD
Cover Alex Sipiagin Quintet - Mel's Vision
Alex Sipiagin - Mel's Vision

Since he emigrated to the United States from Russia in 1991, Alex Sipiagin has earned an exalted international reputation as a no-technical-limits improvisor, sustaining a gorgeous sound throughout the trumpet’s registral range, navigating harmonic and rhythmic complexity with precision, passion, and abiding lyricism. Most of Sipiagin’s 12 previous albums for Criss Cross also showcase his contrapuntal, harmonically comprehensive compositions, full of interesting melodic twists and turns. On them, he projects the same voice that he improvises with but written out for more instruments.

For his 13th Criss Cross date, Mel’s Vision, the 55-year-old master – joined by A-listers tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist David Kikoski,, bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Johnathan Blake – contributes two wonderful originials. But Alex addresses the session primarily as an opportunity to focus on interpreting music by others – a song by Potter, a Ukrainian folk song and four rarely covered gems from the jazz canon.

The project gestated after the 2016 release of Moments Captured (Criss 1395), when Criss Cross founder Gerry Teekens suggested that Sipiagin record a standards album. Before a contract could be executed, Teekens passed away in 2019. When his son, Jerry Teekens, Jr, reestablished the label, Sipiagin recorded Swing On This (Criss 1406), the fifth Criss Cross date by Opus 5, the cooperative quintet in which he interacts with tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, pianist David Kikoski, bassist Boris Kozlov, and drummer Donald Edwards, all Criss Cross leaders and alumni of the Mingus Big Band. He took advantage of that occasion to remind Teekens fils of the standards project, and received a go-ahead.

Criss Cross Jazz 1414 CD
Cover Michael Feinberg - Blues Variant
Michael Feinberg - Blues Variant

An intriguing element of Michael Feinberg’s superb Criss Cross debut is that the leader could easily have titled it “Bassist In The Background” (Fans of Duke Ellington’s wonderful 1960 LP "Pianist In The Background" will know what I mean). Throughout Blues Variant – which includes six tunefully percolating originals by Feinberg, one by tenor saxophonist Noah Preminger, and one by pianist Leo Genovese – the 35-year-old bass maestro hews to the mantra, “If you want to hear me solo, come to a gig, where I often play a solo on every tune”.

“I’m serving the music,” Feinberg continues. “What I appreciate about a bass player is how they make the other people in the band sound. I love hearing the soloistic abilities of Christian McBride, John Patitucci, Dave Holland and the people I idolize, but they’re amazing because, when they play, it feels incredible and they push their bandmates to be the best versions of themselves or go beyond what they think they can do.” As another example, Feinberg mentions Jimmy Garrison, who triangulated between McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones with the “spiritually transcendent” John Coltrane Quartet between 1961 and 1965. “He rarely plays a solo, but you don’t get the Coltrane quartet with anyone else. So I don’t care about the solos, or being on top of the mix to indicate ‘this is a bass player’s record.’ I play a ton of notes. I’m playing the whole time. Can’t miss it.”

Feinberg’s remarks on the Garrison effect carry a certain gravitas; since the early 2010s, when he did The Elvin Jones Project, he’s delved into Coltrane’s repertoire on its own terms of engagement on numerous gigs, most of them featuring Preminger playing tenor saxophone and Ian Froman on drums. On the pan-stylistic Blues Variant, he connects with the spirit of the great drum griot via the presence on three intense selections of Elvin alumnus Dave Liebman, Preminger’s teacher during student years. who has often employed Froman. Feinberg’s introduction to Liebman’s singular sound was Earth Jones, a 1982 Elvin-led release with Liebman, trumpeter Terumaso Hino, pianist Kenny Kirkland and bassist George Mraz. “I know every note of it,” Feinberg says. “I’ve been a fan of Dave’s playing for a long time.”

Criss Cross Jazz 1413 CD
Cover Noah Preminger Trio - Sky Continuous
Noah Preminger - Sky Continuous

Noah Preminger brings with Sky Continuous, an exceptionally compelling trio recital with bass virtuoso Kim Cass, who has performed on 10 of Preminger’s 11 prior albums including Criss Cross releases Genuinity (Criss 1397) and After Life (Criss 1404), and drumset icon Bill Stewart, who had never before shared a bandstand with Preminger.

The music, which includes eight Preminger originals, is logically structured but adventurous and open-ended, containing numerous portals for free expression – it never feels confined. Surprisingly, it’s only Preminger’s second documented exploration of the tenor saxophone trio function.

Sky Continuous came to be when Preminger reached out to Jerry Teekens, the namesake son of Criss Cross founder Gerry Teekens, who passed away in 2019. “Before Gerry died, we were talking about doing another record together, and he said, ‘You would sound great with Bill Stewart. Have you ever played with him?’ I said, ‘No, but I really enjoy his playing and that would be nice.’ So he said, ‘Why don’t we do a trio record with Bill and Kim Cass?’ He knew that I loved Kim’s playing. After Jerry decided to continue the label, I told him about his father’s suggestion."

Criss Cross Jazz 1411 CD
Cover Mike Moreno - Standards from film
Mike Moreno - Standards From Film
Like a well – wrought character in a Hollywood movie, Standards From Film, guitarist Mike Moreno’s fourth Criss Cross album, exists atop a solid, cogent back story. Recorded in December 2021, when the world and New York City – Houston-born Moreno’s home for more than two decades – were no longer on COVID lockdown, it documents the leader’s exhaustive investigations into the provenance of ten iconic standards that, as he puts it, “are the summer jazz workshop tunes” – they say you have to learn these songs if you want to be a jazz musician. You learn them very young or in the beginning days of your journey into this music.
The album was recorded December 22, 2021 at the Samurai Hotel Recording Studio in NY. Recording engineer Mike Marciano also did the editing, mixing and mastering at Systems Two in NY.
Criss Cross Jazz 1410 CD
Cover Misha Tsiganov - Misha's Wishes
Misha Tsiganov - Misha's Wishes

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).

As written in the liner notes for Spring Feelings, Tsiganov has established “a signature blend of mixed meters, shifting tempos, changing keys and reharmonization that he deploys in order to insure ‘that something is happening always, so the listener doesn’t fall asleep.’”

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 Misha Tsiganov feels such simpatico that he once postponed a recording session until all were available – is different than its predecessors.

Criss Cross Jazz 1409 CD