theon cross

rare brilliance with flaws

i’ve been too enamored of cross… it took me awhile to feel the detrimental effect of the sax player. it’s become so bad, the sax players monotony, that i can’t listen to cross anymore… though he’s totally brilliant. there is also, again, i was slow to hear it, a bit too much influence from miroslav vitous, of weather report fame, though he broke with them when they became to commercial.

until, his latest album: intra-I, where these flaws my be lessening. i’m not sure. easy to reach to rap and latin. not sure that direction isn’t the same as his drawing on vitous and being overrun by an inferior sax player.

what would he be, entirely on his own?

maybe he needs seven years in his own wilderness to perfect his own agenda, and not compromise it.

he does have the perfect, equally brilliant drummer.

but too much melodramatic brass negates them both as much as the negating sax player of the first two albums. some of the electronics work beautifully, so perhaps that might be kept. but given his penchant of poor, weirdly overriding and negative band members, i fear that might become yet more filler he doesn’t need.

i want to, but am not convinced of his fusionist tendencies. its all seems arbitrary, and opposed to the perfectly clear purist tendency of his own commitment to the tuba. for that, he might look to the trombone compositions and performances of zorn; and, to the sax playing of dolphy, perhaps a musician with a similarly unique approach to an instrument.

for what it’s worth, in the interstices where i’m not hearing ‘correctly’….

then, there is ‘Universal Alignment’ of Intra-I, that gives my critique legitimacy. perhaps the best composition of cross’s yet.

theon cross