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DAVID CROSS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • United Kingdom


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David Cross biography
Best known as the violinist for the 1972-1974 incarnation of KING CRIMSON which produced such classics as "Larks' Tongues In Apsic" and "Red", many don't know that David CROSS released a handful of solo albums, which have featured such musicians as Keith TIPPETT, John WETTON, Robert FRIPP and Peter HAMMILL. David's solo work tends to be very jazzy (though there are some CRIMSON-esque moments) and unfortunately his albums are now for the most part quite difficult to find.

CROSS' best album is unquestionably his 1997 record "Exiles". It features all of the above mentioned guests (aside from TIPPETT) and probably sounds the most like KING CRIMSON out of any of them, thanks largely to FRIPP's guitar and WETTON's vocals. 1994's "Testing to Destruction" is also worth a listen. Liking KING CRIMSON is no guarantee that you'll like David CROSS. He has a style very distinct from the band he's best known for playing with, and he's suggested more to fans of jazz fusion than the straight ahead prog that KC is known for.

: : : Bryan Adair, CANADA : : :

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It's Not Funny [Vinyl]It's Not Funny [Vinyl]
Stand Up! Records 2004
Vinyl$17.96
Sign of the CrowSign of the Crow
Import
Imports 2016
Audio CD$9.49
$9.48 (used)
Big PictureBig Picture
Import
Noisy Records
Audio CD$49.99
$5.75 (used)
Bigger & Blackerer (LP + DVD)Bigger & Blackerer (LP + DVD)
Limited Edition
Sub Pop 2010
Vinyl$20.85
$19.99 (used)
Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!
Explicit Lyrics
Sub Pop 2002
Audio CD$10.85
$0.31 (used)
ExilesExiles
Import
Ais 2005
Audio CD$5.22
$5.32 (used)
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DAVID CROSS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DAVID CROSS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.93 | 13 ratings
Low Flying Aircraft
1987
3.06 | 13 ratings
Memos From Purgatory
1989
3.21 | 18 ratings
The Big Picture
1992
3.36 | 24 ratings
Testing to Destruction
1994
3.66 | 38 ratings
Exiles
1997
4.03 | 20 ratings
Closer Than Skin
2005
2.29 | 9 ratings
David Cross And Andrew Keeling - English Sun - Vol 2
2009
3.29 | 23 ratings
David Cross and Robert Fripp: Starless Starlight
2015
3.19 | 13 ratings
Cross & Quinn: Cold Sky Blue
2016
4.07 | 20 ratings
Sign of the Crow
2016

DAVID CROSS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 9 ratings
Alive In The Underworld
2008

DAVID CROSS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DAVID CROSS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

DAVID CROSS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

DAVID CROSS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 David Cross and Robert Fripp: Starless Starlight by CROSS, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.29 | 23 ratings

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David Cross and Robert Fripp: Starless Starlight
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer

3 stars David Cross is usually perceived as having been the weakest link in the classic mid-'70s line-up of King Crimson, by his own admission unable to compete with the "flying brick wall" of the Wetton-Bruford rhythm section on stage. And yet of all the early Crimson alumni (aside from Robert Fripp, currently taking a back seat in his own band) Cross is the only member still going strong, recording and touring with his integrity uncompromised after more than forty years.

For this unique reunion the two ex-bandmates took an affectionate backward glance at an old flame, in a series of linked instrumental pieces "derived from" the haunted opening notes of the 1974 "Red" album swan song. The poignant theme was originally conceived by Cross and Fripp "in some sort of collaboration", according to the violinist in his album notes. "He remembers me starting it and him finishing it off."

The end result is a 56-minute inflation of a 10-second refrain, arranged as a near-continuous flow of unearthly and hypnotic music sounding like snowfall gently settling on a quiet woodland floor. Fripp's ethereal soundscapes almost disappear completely into radiant stasis at times, while Cross improvises equally dreamy accompaniment on top. The violinist may have felt inhibited in the 1970s by his fellow Crimson Kings, but his skills have advanced considerably since then, and today his playing soars with all the virtuoso poise of a genuine artist.

Ditto Mr. Fripp, who for this project (not a ProjeKct, alas) exhumed the standard guitar tuning he abandoned in the early 1980s. Those lingering Frippertronic loops serve the music well, giving the old song an orchestral sweep that doesn't fit the Jazz Rock slot David Cross has been forced to inhabit in these archives.

The album can sound a little repetitive after exploring the same, small patch of ground for almost a full hour: it's too bad the duo couldn't extend the experiment to include soundscape-and-violin revisions of other Crim snippets, "Exiles" for instance, or "Larks' Tongues in Aspic". On a shallow cosmetic level the music also carries an occasional hint of New Age mush, but the understated strength of the source material is enough to raise it far above any mundane plateau of superficial bliss.

 Sign of the Crow by CROSS, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 20 ratings

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Sign of the Crow
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars The best album King Crimson never made

Sign Of The Crow is the second release and the first studio album to be credited to David Cross Band (rather than just simply David Cross). The first time the full band moniker was used was for the excellent live album Alive In The Underworld released in 2008. The leader of the band is obviously David Cross himself, best known from his participation in King Crimson between 1972 and 1974. The rest of the band is made up of Paul Clark on guitars, Mick Paul on bass, Jinian Wilde on vocals, and Craig Blundell on drums, with Alex Hall contributing keyboards to some of the tracks. Cross himself also plays keyboards in addition to his main instrument the electric violin. Personally, I love the violin in a Rock context and appreciate bands who use it like Curved Air, UK, and FM.

Even though this new album comes a little over a decade after David Cross' previous Rock album, 2005's Closer Than Skin, there is nonetheless a natural continuation between that album and the present one. Both Closer Than Skin and Sign Of The Crow are excellent progressive Rock albums in the vein of King Crimson during Cross' time with that band only more melodic and less experimental - and, in my opinion, much better! The Jazz-Rock/Fusion categorisation Cross has received here is really only appropriate for his first solo album. Most of his albums are more fittingly categorised as Eclectic Prog.

Sign Of The Crow has a nice flow and variation. Highlights include the opener Starfall, the title track, and the folky The Pool, but the whole album is strong. It is quite incredible that someone who entered the music business such a long time ago is producing his best albums in recent years, but that is indeed what David Cross (born 1949) is doing. In my opinion, Sign Of The Crow is the best record David Cross has ever made!

Highly recommended together with Closer Than Skin and Alive In The Underworld. Now, I'm hoping that another live release (preferably a full length concert on DVD video) will follow featuring songs from the present album as well as some of the best songs from Cross' previous solo albums plus a wealth of King Crimson classics.

 Sign of the Crow by CROSS, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.07 | 20 ratings

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Sign of the Crow
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This release will open up new audiences to the, somewhat lost in the crowd, King Crimson ex member David Cross.

For starters "Sign of the Crow", 2016, is closer to the Rock METAL categories, rather than Jazz or Fusion as such and by far.

The "David Cross Band", the actual name in this title's release and their sixth studio album, uncovers most of the mystery of this sound as their line up since 2008 will show.- Jinian Wilde their vocalist, leading drummer Craig Blundell, composer/guitarist Paul Clark and composer/bassist Mick Paul and adding up in this release keyboardist Alex Hall, and evidently David Cross on violin and music writing.

The Metal attitude contrasts with the more acoustic oriented Cross, thus adding a meltdown of moods, which counterpoint constantly and excitingly. This band has been polishing this music style's crossroads, considering also that some members have their own mothership bands and projects, thus summing up different approaches and experiments, from fast paced frantic tracks to more dream like, acoustic ballads, but never falling far from the "metallic" tree.

The Experimental/Post Metal or Progressive Metal taggings, I have been suggested, will fit this band and album, and I, knowing the unassumed importance and irrelevance of enclosing music in between boxes, will be the first to state how important this labelings are for its distibution to target audiences and obviously for its proper marketing, but in actual fact I have heard "heavier" Heavy Metal in non Metal categories ( i.e. in this same PA's address noisy neighbor Jeff Beck), so I leave its labeling to you my friend.

Anyway,back to the music. Daring, highly suited as an ensemble adding up for multiple creativeness by all members. A strange kind of clash which acts as an incentive for all kind of focuses and directions, kept in size, somehow by the vocals, which opposite to most bands, are part of the act and not the full show, as few bands can do.

****4 PA stars.

 Cross & Quinn: Cold Sky Blue by CROSS, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.19 | 13 ratings

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Cross & Quinn: Cold Sky Blue
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is the kind of release that will hardly "knock your socks off" but will return to your attention when you know the kind of mood it requires for its full enjoyment.

For starters this is not groundbreaking material nor a bombastic release, opposite to that "CROSS & QUINN: COLD SKY BLUE", 2016, is a slow paced, heartfelt (sometimes a bit too much, like track 4), emotional, nocturnal and romantic journey, which travels through very difficult grounds, the 80s' style like ones, or better yet, the recreation of the most refined and rescuable parts of those.

And believe it or not David Cross and Sťamus Quinn pull it through with extreme decor, which is almost a miracle. (At times you could bet Robert Fripp is guest, but you will lose the bet.)

As told, once you know what to expect, it turns out to be quiet pleasurable to listen to.

Anyway, it beholds some great moments, nevertheless not exactly flawless as a whole. If expecting Jazz or Fusion this is the wrong place to look for those styles.

***3 PA stars.

 Closer Than Skin by CROSS, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2005
4.03 | 20 ratings

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Closer Than Skin
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars More than close

Despite the fact that both Robert Fripp and John Wetton (as well as Peter Hammill of Van Der Graaf Generator) contributed as guests to his previous record Exiles, Closer Than Skin is the David Cross solo album that comes closest to the sound of King Crimson of which Cross was a member between 1972 and 1974. The band that Cross assembled around himself here is really strong and they are a very solid unit as also evidenced by the very good live album Alive In The Underworld recorded shorty afterwards. The material presented here is also strong and I would say that not only is this Cross' best studio album as a solo artist but it is also better than anything released by King Crimson since the 1970's! However, the aforementioned live album is the optimal place to start with David Cross as that album gives a better overview of his whole career featuring several King Crimson songs as well as songs from most of his solo albums including two from the present album.

Being Cross' main instrument, the violin is of course omnipresent in this music but he leaves equal space to the other members. Guitars, vocals, bass and drums are excellently played and important elements. There is however less keyboards than on previous records. This music rocks rather hard and occasionally approaches Metal territory. In those moments where the music takes on a Middle Eastern flavour the band Orphaned Land comes to mind! Also Fates Warning can be a relevant comparison at some points.

When I first started listening to this album I thought that many of the songs sounded similar to each other, but on many further listens they started to distinguish themselves more and the album as a whole kept growing on me. Closer Than Skin is a very good album! If I should complain about something is has to be the fairly dull cover picture.

Highly recommended in addition to Alive In The Underworld

 Memos From Purgatory by CROSS, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.06 | 13 ratings

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Memos From Purgatory
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator 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.

 The Big Picture by CROSS, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.21 | 18 ratings

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The Big Picture
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Kings Cross

Going deeper into David Cross' discography, I've reached his second solo alum - The Big Picture. Compared to the follow- up Testing To Destruction from 1994, this 1992 album is clearly more consistent and coherent. It lacks the tedious improvisational numbers of Testing To Destruction, but it also lacks the standout tracks of that album. I was previously familiar with a live version of one of the album's tracks, namely the opener Nurse Insane which featured on the excellent live record Alive In The Underworld.

The sound and production values of The Big Picture are those of its time, namely the early 90's. Especially the drums sound somewhat dated, but it is not a big problem for me. The material here is generally of a good standard, and it is a rather enjoyable album from the ex-King Crimson violinist. It does not sound like King Crimson, but nonetheless might appeal to some fans of that band.

 Testing to Destruction  by CROSS, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.36 | 24 ratings

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Testing to Destruction
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Calamity, my friend

My first experience with David Cross (outside of King Crimson) was his solo studio album Exiles and the live album Alive In The Underworld (the latter credited to The David Cross Band). The present album came just before Exiles and one of the tracks here, the opening Learning Curve, was also featured on Alive In The Underworld. It is a great track in both the studio and live versions. The highlight of Testing To Destruction is however the second track called Calamity. This is an excellent nine minute, progressive composition which tells the story of a shipwreck in a clever way. David Cross himself on violin and the band backing him up really shine here. Had the rest of the album been as good as the first two tracks we would be looking at a much higher rating from me, but sadly nothing of what comes after matches these first two tracks. The instrumental Welcome To Frisco functions like an extended coda to Calamity and may be seen as following the ship down to the bottom of the sea with its haunting cries and ghostly laments.

The Affable Mister G is an up-tempo track with a raw, almost Punk-ish feel. Not impressive. Next up is another instrumental, this time of an improvisational nature. The Swing Arm Disconnects goes nowhere and is much too long to keep my interest. Not my cup of tea. After this comes a track that on the first listen made me wonder if Spotify had shifted to another album altogether. Trip Wire is a bad Pop song that doesn't fit in here. This is then followed by another couple of aimless instrumentals, with the short title track being close to unlistenable. The final track, Abo, runs for 12 minutes. It is not bad, but it takes much too long to get off the ground and then there is not a lot of interesting things happening.

Testing To Destruction is recommended for Learning Curve and, especially, the excellent Calamity, but sadly the rest of the album is just not up to the same high standard which bring the rating down to two stars. Shame.

 Alive In The Underworld by CROSS, DAVID album cover Live, 2008
4.00 | 9 ratings

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Alive In The Underworld
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Out of exile and into the 21st century

David Cross is best known for being a member of King Crimson between 1972 and 1974. Here he is with his own band performing a mixture of tracks from his solo albums and some King Crimson classics. His most recent studio album at the time of this live recording was Closer Than Skin. That 2005 album is represented by two tracks in the set list: Are We One? and I Buy Silence. Cross' 1998 solo album Exiles was named after the King Crimson song originally appearing on 1973's Larks' Tongues In Aspic to which Cross contributed. Exiles featured a new studio recording of the song with original vocalist John Wetton guesting. The live version of the song featured here is well sung by Arch Stanton. The rest of the band consists of Paul Clark on guitar, Mick Paul on bass, Alex Hall on keyboards, Joe Crabtree on drums, and David Cross himself on electric violin.

Tonk was also taken from the Exiles album. The earlier David Cross solo albums Testing To Destruction and The Big Picture from 1994 and 1992 respectively are represented by one song each in Learning Curve and Nurse Insane. All of the songs are good and often the sound reminds me a bit of the progressive Metal band Fates Warning! Two further King Crimson classics are included, actually my two personal favourite King Crimson songs Starless - originally from 1974's Red - and 21st Century Schizoid Man, originally from the band's 1969 debut In The Court Of The Crimson King. The latter is perhaps an odd choice given that David Cross didn't join the band until several years later, but I assume that he did perform this song live with the band back in the 70's. Cross does his own thing with these classics and gives them his own touch. Often a harder edge and heavier sound is noticeable.

The final track called Floodlights is a new studio bonus track.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable live album that sits well beside other ex-King Crimson members live efforts including those by the 21st Century Schizoid Band, John Wetton, and Greg Lake - all of which in my opinion are better custodians of the band's legacy than the band that carries the name "King Crimson".

 Exiles by CROSS, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.66 | 38 ratings

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Exiles
David Cross Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Tonk

This solo album by ex-King Crimson man David Cross is named after the King Crimson song Exiles which originally appeared on 1973's Larks' Tongues In Aspic to which Cross contributed. The version featured here as the opening track is a new studio recording of the song in a different arrangement with original vocalist John Wetton guesting. It sounds fantastic! Also Robert Fripp guests here on three tracks, two of which also features Peter Hammill from Van Der Graaf Generator on vocals. This is an interesting combination of talents with Tonk being the strongest of these in 1970's King Crimson heavy style.

Slippery Slope is an instrumental Jazz-Rock/Fusion number more in line with what was found on some previous David Cross albums. Not bad at all but considerably less King Crimson-like. Cakes is another track that features Fripp and this time it is an ambient instrumental. Not my cup of tea but it would have been quite acceptable considered as an interlude if it had only been shorter, but about halfway through it tends to get boring. Wetton's voice returns for This Is Your Life, a Pop Rock song that would not have been out of place on one of Wetton's lesser solo records but which sounds rather odd in the present context. Fast and Troppo (the other Fripp/Hammill combination) pick things up again somewhat and the closer Hero can be said to combine all of the elements mentioned above.

Overall, Exiles is a rather strange mix of Heavy Prog, Jazz-Rock/Fusion and Pop Rock. Several good moments, but not the best place to start with David Cross. I recommend to begin with the live album Alive In The Underworld which provides a good overview of Cross' career featuring songs from his four most recent solo albums including the present one plus three classic King Crimson numbers. Also the more recent studio album Closer Than Skin is recommended over Exiles.

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