Melody and groove are the watchwords on John Ellis' masterful Criss Cross
debut, which mixes optimistic songs composed by the iconic children's
television host, Fred (a.k.a. "Mister") Rogers, himself a fine jazz pianist, and dark ones by the late singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. Joined by New York A-listers Mike Moreno (guitar), Aaron Goldberg (piano), Matt Penman (bass), and Rodney Green (drums), Ellis - playing mostly tenor saxophone and a bit of bass clarinet - addresses the repertoire with a surefooted time feel, gorgeous tone,and abiding melodicism.