Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Korman, Clifford. “Criss Cross: Motivic Construction in Composition and Improvisation.” Annual Review of Jazz Studies 10 (1999): 103-26.

Jazz analysts have frequently pointed to Thelonious Monk's Criss Cross as an exemplar of motivic development and coherence in jazz literature. Full transcriptions of Monk's four recordings of Criss Cross, previously unavailable in analytical literature, confirm and elaborate on this claim. Monk's melody is composed entirely of three measure-long motives and variants of those motives. His improvisations incorporate these motives at their respective places in the original melody. In both the main statement and solo sections of two recordings from 1963 and 1971, Monk augments the motives rhythmically, changes the timings of some eighth-note passages, enriches the accompaniment in the left hand, and adjusts the lengths of concluding notes. Monk's solos occasionally deviate from motivic coherence, especially in two recordings from 1951. Deviations most often occur, however, when previous solos by members of Monk's band focus more on harmonic and scalar improvisation than motivic improvisation. Milt Jackson and Sahib Shibab, both on the two 1951 recordings, use a vocabulary that consists of bebop and quotation. In contrast, Charlie Rouse, on the 1963 and 1971 recordings, maintains motivic coherence in his improvisations with Monk's theme.

Works: Thelonious Monk: Criss Cross as recorded in 1951, 1963, and 1971.

Index Classifications: 1900s, Jazz

Contributed by: Nathan Blustein

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License