As a guitarist/singer/songwriter/arranger, Dave Cross combines touches of both jazz and blues. In addition to his formidable guitar chops and easy, languid vocals, Dave has a talent for surrounding himself with top-notch musicians. The selections on Songbook all showcase the rich musical interplay between Cross and his backing band, which includes keyboards, a horn section and Dave’s wife Sue on bass.
Tracks like “Everyone Knows” and “Broke on Payday” reveal Cross’s talent for performing up-tempo blues shuffles, where Cross punctuates his tongue-in-cheek lyrics with twisting, intricate guitar lines. On ballads like “I Promise” and “Gently,” Cross shows his skills as an accompanist— he strums delicate, atmospheric chords behind jazz horn solos and guest vocalist Gail Chasin. One of the most impressive tracks on Songbook is the New Orleans-flavored “Church of Charles.” While Cross’s lyrics pay tribute to Mingus, Monk and Armstrong, the horn players jam over a funky rhythm section that’s buffed up by guest percussionist Papo Rodriguez.
Dave and Sue Cross are based in Southern California, and their music displays a strong West Coast sensibility. The low-key style they bring to jazz and blues makes Songbook a worthwhile listen for roots music fans.
Dave Cross playing September 24th at the 14th Annual Awards Ceremony, 2013 Orange County Arts Awards, at the Samueli Theater, Segerstrom Center for the Arts–Dave’s 5th consecutive year performing at the event, which celebrates progress and achievements in the cultural life of Orange County and the people who make them happen. Many thanks to Richard Stein, Arts Orange County Executive Director, for producing a seamless and beautiful show.
Do you like jazz? Do you love to dance? Does a wailing sax solo energize you? Buy Back to Broke. This is a CD of fun, spirited music that really makes me look forward to hearing more. Cool, funky, New Orleans club-style jazz that’s got the blues. Back to Broke gets back to the basics: good, creative songwriting. The lyrics are thoughtful, inspired, and full of funny zingers. Dave Cross’ and Gail Chasin’s voices complement each other perfectly. His is casual and conversational (sounding a bit like Randy Newman); hers is powerful and emotional with a tinge of gospel.
The music is a party. From the playful swing of “Wiggle Walk” to the big band feel of the title track, to the foot-stomping “Shuffle,” the musicians on this CD are playing at full throttle and having a great time. The music gets into your blood. “Quiet Surprises” is a pleasant surprise – a soft, romantic break from the upbeat jazz club numbers. The piano notes sound like rapidly falling raindrops at times. The saxophone sounds longing and reflective. Beautiful. This one had me under its spell for a long time.
This is a CD of fun, spirited music that really makes me look forward to hearing more from them. In the meantime, Dave Cross continues to perform at clubs and coffeehouses in and around Orange County, CA, so if you’re in that area, check him out.
-Jennifer Layton, Indie-Music.com.
Smooth blues with a Jazz Groove–these gifted musicians have taken from the old and added a 90’s feel. A euphonious Gumbo steaming with the talents of Dave and Sue Cross, with several rhythmic approaches that makes for an intriguing listening experience. A superb performance. . .masterful. . .a unique approach.
-Greg Serrato, The Blues News.
Musicians need a sense of humor, and guitarist/vocalist Dave Cross obviously has one. Cross has a warm and friendly, slightly craggy voice and he sings in a laid back manner. His group is called Crossection and provides pretty nifty company! “Shuffle” is a big rousing tune where everyone gets to solo; a big band feel comes across on “Stolen Love on Hiway 99,” in which the horns are standouts; “Mardi Gras Mambo” is a big rockin’ party tune. “Quiet Surprises” is a gorgeous tune with seductive piano and a small gem of a sax solo. This is a good showcase CD, quite danceable.
-Myrna Daniels, L.A. Jazz Scene.