The brainchild of producer Gerry Teekens, United Soul Experience extricates trombonist Wycliffe Gordon from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra orbit and teams him with some of the most interesting young talent in the Criss Cross stable. Tradition-minded but not predictable, the music alludes to several jazz and funk styles without settling into any one of them. Gordon, tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, and pianist David Kikoski play like accomplished young veterans who continue to search for something more. Bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart generate a circuitous kind of swing, stating a pulse and deconstructing it in the same instance. The leader’s five compositions evince memorable melodies and impose just the right amount of organization to the band’s loose-jointed execution.
A great group – with a young Dale Barlow on tenor, David Williams on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. Features a hip take on "Naima", plus "Bluesville", "Ojos De Rojos", and "Rubberman". Cedar Walton is really good as usual but a possibly unsung saxophone player sets the standard for this recording. Dale Barlow gives a virtuoso performance which ranks with any of the modern sax men to inlude Lovano or Watts. There was some malaise in jazz in the 80s but this album was a firecracker in its day. I recommend it highly.
Brace yourselves for The Art of Organizing, the very first appearance on Criss Cross by organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith. Organ jazz is of course an important part of the Criss Cross catalog. Our releases by the likes of Melvin Rhyne and Sam Yahel bear that out, also demonstrating how this vital idiom spans the generations. And you're very likely to find that a Criss Cross organ date involves modern master guitarist Peter Bernstein, an important leader for our label in his own right. Indeed, it is none other than Bernstein who joins Smith on The Art of Organizing.
Young trumpeter Philip Dizack is a new name on the Criss Cross record label but not a new name for those who closely follow the New York jazz scene. Since his arrival in New York, Dizack has been making waves and winning awards with his beautiful tone and dark intensity, both of which were on full display on his last album, End of an Era (Truth Revolution Records, 2012). For his Criss Cross debut, Dizack continues his maturation as a composer and player, contributing seven original tunes to this inspired recital. On "Single Soul," Dizack is accompanied by fellow newcomers to the Criss Cross label, Ben Wendel on tenor sax, and Eden Ladin on piano, also both young musicians who have been steadily gaining attention on the New York scene. Filling out the band are Criss Cross veterans, Joe Sanders on bass and Eric Harland on drums, giving the group a strong rhythmic foundation.
Speaking eloquently to the benefits of keeping a working band together, One For All continues to add some distinctive flair to the mainstream tradition while building a singular book of originals and uniquely arranged standards. Blueslike, their fifth effort for Criss Cross, finds John Coltrane firmly in mind with an uptempo romp through Giant Steps, and a bossa-inflected Naima. Rounding out this program of jazz standards are a few band originals and an updated arrangement of the Bacharach trinket In Between the Heartaches.
When it comes to New York’s top-shelf gigs, few pianists get the job done like David Hazeltine. Much sought for his sensitivity as an accompanist, Hazeltine is also an inventive composer and arranger who is able to bring a fresh approach to the mainstream. For his eighth set as a leader for Criss Cross, the pianist brings his talents to the fore with three originals, including a dedicatory For Cedar. Rounding out the set are a few select standards including a new twist on Dizzy Gillespie’s Tin Tin Deo.
For his fourth Criss Cross leader date, alto saxophonist-composer David Binney convenes his primary New York working quartet of the 2000s (pianist Jacob Sacks, bassist Eivind Opsvik, and drummer Dan Weiss), adds to the mix guitar hero Wayne Krantz, with whom he works frequently in an electronica-oriented group, and augments the proceedings with several appearances by British pianist-composer John Escreet, a frequent partner in recent years. The leader plays with deep emotion and the concision of an old master; it's as strong a date as any in Binney's now sizable discography.
Lifted Land, David Binney's sixth recording for Criss Cross, is also his third wholly original program for the label. One of the most gripping and distinctive alto players and composers of his generation, Binney leads a powerfully expressive quartet with longtime allies Craig Taborn on piano and Eivind Opsvik on bass. Drummer Tyshawn Sorey, an acclaimed leader and composer in his own right, makes his first Criss Cross appearance here, in place of Binney?s go-to drummer for previous releases, Dan Weiss. Binney's tunes are anthemic, evocative, highly precise and finely crafted and yet prepared to venture into the freest abstract terrain.