Criss Cross Jazz new release September 2023

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

Here is the new Criss Cross Jazz release for September 2023, which will be released on September 29. All details can be found on the website:
Cover Jim Rotondi - Over
Here - Criss 1417
Jim Rotondi Quintet - Over Here

By titling his eighth Criss Cross album Over Here, trumpeter Jim Rotondi picks up on the sentiments he signified with The Move (Criss 1323), his seventh for the label. “It doesn’t necessarily mean moving somewhere else, but rather returning home, playing tunes with a lot of straight-ahead swing and interesting chord sequences with guys I’m comfortable with,” Rotondi stated in the liner notes I wrote for that kinetic 2009 recital.

That’s an effective description of what transpires on Rotondi’s latest swinging affair. But although he wasn’t misdirecting, he wasn’t telling the whole story. As it turned out, The Move indeed foreshadowed Rotondi’s decision in 2010 to leave New York for Austria for a position as Professor of Trumpet at the University of Graz. As indicated by the current title (which references George M. Cohan’s 1917 flagwaver “Over There” and Rotondi’s father’s service in Europe during World War 2), Rotondi is ensconced on the Continent thirteen years later, augmenting pedagogical responsibilities with several trips a year to New York and other U.S. waystations, and also touring the jazz clubs of central Europe, Italy, France, Spain and the U.K.

In fact, Over Here stems from a ten-day sojourn by a band of four New York-trained masters that opened with a jazz cellar gig in the Viennese suburb Bruck an der Leitha, proceeded to Neuberg, Germany, doubled back to Vienna’s prestigious Porgy and Bess club, continued with a drive to tenor saxophone maestro Piero Odorici’s club in Bologna, and then transitioned to Udine for the recording session.

The tour gestated from Rotondi’s desire to create a European group with tenor saxophonist Rick Margitza, based in Paris since 2003, as his front line counterpart, and pianist Danny Grissett, a five-time Criss Cross leader who’s resided in Vienna since January 2013. “I’ve known Rick virtually since I moved to New York in 1987,” the 60-year-old master recalls. “We’ve played many sessions together, but never a gig, and I thought it was time for us to do something."

The album was recorded May 10, 2023 at the Artesuono Recording Studio in Udine (Italy). Recording engineer Mike Marciano did the editing, mixing and mastering at Systems Two.

Criss Cross Jazz 1417
Jim Rotondi - The Move
Criss Cross Jazz 1323 CD
Jim Rotondi - Iron Man
Criss Cross Jazz 1275 CD
Jim Rotondi - New Vistas
Criss Cross Jazz 1251 CD
Jim Rotondi - Reverence
Criss Cross Jazz 1209 CD
Jim Rotondi - Excursions
Criss Cross Jazz 1184 CD
Jim Rotondi - Jim's Bop
Criss Cross Jazz 1156 CD
Jim Rotondi - Introducing Jim Rotondi
Criss Cross Jazz 1128 CD
Danny Grissetti - The
Criss Cross Jazz 1382 CD
Danny Grissett - Stride
Criss Cross Jazz 1337 CD
Danny Grissetti - Form
Criss Cross Jazz 1315 CD
Danny Grissett - Encounters
Criss Cross Jazz 1299 CD
Danny Grissetti - Promise
Criss Cross Jazz 1281 CD
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
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
LP cover Mike Moreno - Standards from
film - Criss 1410
LP cover Mike Moreno - Standards from
film - Criss 1410
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 Standards From Film album was released on CD (Criss 1410) in October 2022.

Since August 18, 2023 the album is also available as a 2-LP set on 180 grams black vinyl with gatefold cover, as part of the Criss Cross Jazz vinyl (re-)release plan.

Joined by a rhythm section of generational contemporaries, each at the top of the jazz pyramid, (Sullivan Fortner, piano; Matt Brewer, bass; Obed Calvaire, drums) Moreno deploys a variety of attacks and tonalities to create dynamic tension in lyric declamations that he delivers with his signature plush, resonant tone, sublime articulation, and harmonic intelligence.

Criss Cross Jazz 1410 LP
LP cover Lage Lund - Terrible
Animals - Criss 1402
LP cover Lage Lund - Terrible
Animals - Criss 1402
Lage Lund - Terrible Animals

Terrible Animals is perhaps the most compositionally ambitious and daringly performed of Lage Lund's five albums on Criss Cross Jazz. The Terrible Animals album was released on CD (Criss 1402) in February 2019.

Since July 14, 2023 the album is also available as a 2-LP set on 180 grams black vinyl with gatefold cover, as part of the Criss Cross Jazz vinyl (re-)release plan.

Joined by a never-before-convened, top-of-the-pyramid rhythm section (Sullivan Fortner, piano; Larry Grenadier, bass; Tyshawn Sorey, drums) the 39-year-old presents ten far-flung originals that elicit the full measure of their creativity over the 68-minute program, spurring Lund -- who makes ingenious use of effects within his flow -- to some of his most dynamic and varied playing on record.

The album was recorded on April 27, 2018 at the Systems Two Studio in New York. Recording engineer Mike Marciano also did the editing, mixing and mastering at Systems Two. He also did the vinyl mastering for this 2LP issue. The cover drawing on this gatefold 2LP set was made by Robbin Veldman.

Criss Cross Jazz 1402 LP