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David Cross - Memos From Purgatory CD (album) cover


David Cross

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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3 stars Memos From Purgatory is the first album David Cross released under his own name. Like on his later albums, Cross is supported by several other musicians, but more than his other albums, Memos From Purgatory sounds like a solo album, even though three of the eight songs were written by Sheila Maloney.The album is completely instrumental, and at times vocals are really missed. Although they are generally played well, most of the songs themselves are a bit too straightforward. Cross is a great musician, but he needs the creative input from others to really shine. And here, he just doesn't. Thankfully, quality of songwriting is much better on the next album. Memos From Purgatory is not a bad album, but it's just not very surprising or memorable. Actually, I never really notice when it is finished, and that can't be right, can it?
Report this review (#78434)
Posted Wednesday, May 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Certainly not your typical jazz album, am I right dear readers ? We're talking about King Crimson inspired (for sure,he has to be, being with them for so long). Every song setting its own mood, some optimistic, some dark (I like it this way) and some bizarre (well, obvious choice would be Bizarre Bazaar, strange, but funny play with words) ones. This isn't by far bad album, even it's set into dark 80's (they are finally almost over and also I was born, let's celebrate and dance in the streets), even melancholic ones (closing Basking In the Blue). I'm slowly getting used to his music, which is weird (provides some maniacal laugh), but interesting. Drums sometimes sounds like drum-machine (big, sad face from me), but lack of vocals doesn't mean anything bad, let's stay instrumental for The Greater Good. For the big Enjoy.

4(-), sometimes minimalistic (I'm starting to like this word too), but managing to be interesting enough to get your attention.

Report this review (#260869)
Posted Thursday, January 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars An important figure of the early-70's British prog scene, violinist David Cross was born in 1949 in Turnchapel near Plymouth and became widely known as a member of King Crimson, with whom he spent three intense years.From mid-70's and on Cross participated in several albums as a guest musician, before becoming a member of the one-shot project Low Flying Aircraft and also of Radius in late-80's.Additionally he formed his own band along with keyboardist Sheila Maloney from Radius, drummer Dan Maurer from Low Flying Aircraft, bassist Simon Murrell and sax player Pete McPhail.Cross debuted in 1989 with ''Memos From Purgatory'', released both in CD and vinyl by Red Hot Records.

The album is dominated by Cross'es lovely playing and his Classical tendencies throughout, however it is also tortured by the cheap-sounding keyboards of the 80's and the plastic drumming, not unleashing its true power.Influences come from Progressive Rock, Experimental Rock, Fusion and even New Age and the album has also a strong KING CRIMSON vibe of the 80's with many experimental moments next to Cross'es both smooth and attacking deliveries, featuring plenty of hard-edged moments with fiery saxes, powerful drumming and hypnotic bass work.Maloney's keyboards though become unbearable in the process, sounding too New-Agey and fake compared to the physical sound of the violins, bass and sax.The instrumental styles offered are varied, from OLDFIELD-ian dreamy soundscapes with emphasis on keyboasrds to mechanical, almost industrial type of sharp violin intervetions, containing some schizophenic grooves, and even some delicate, more Classical-inspired pieces.The mediocre sound of the instruments combined with the mass of different moods presented hurt the album's consistency.

Not the best comeback for such a great musician.Pale and rather unispired work with huge 80's vibes in the recording process, but also hints of Cross'es unique talent throughout.Recommended mainly to die-hard KING CRIMSON fans...2.5 stars.

Report this review (#858329)
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Basking in sax and violins

Memos From Purgatory released in 1989 was ex-King Crimson man David Cross' first solo effort (the 1987 album Low Flying Aircraft listed here under Cross' discography is actually by a band called Low Flying Aircraft which featured Cross as one of the members). This debut solo album is an all-instrumental Jazz-Rock/Fusion album dominated by Cross' electric violin and backed up by a band. It can perhaps be compared to a darker and less cheerful version of The Dixie Dregs. The style also reminds me of the darker and jazzier style in which Steve Hackett performs Genesis' Los Endos live.

Needless to say the music found here has very little to do with what Cross did with King Crimson when he was a member of that band between 1972 and 1974. It is also not very similar to what Cross would do on his later solo albums on which he added vocals and took a more rocking direction. If you want to explore David Cross this is not the best place to start unless you are a big fan of instrumental Rock.

This is clearly a professional recording full of talent and I enjoy listening to this album, but it is not essential listening.

Report this review (#1395547)
Posted Wednesday, April 8, 2015 | Review Permalink

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