Who better than Monk Institute Music Director John Beasley to finally create something that might have been thought of years ago: the concept of a "Monk'estra," which is, of course, a full-fledged 15-man orchestra doing nothin' but the hard, complex, circuitous compositions by The High Priest Of Bebop, baby, Thelonious Monk [1917-1982].
One realizes just how special 'Allied Forces' (Posi-Tone) by Steve Fidyk is about halfway through Monk opener "Evidence." Dealing with Monk's myriad changes and convoluted thought processes in a shiny new irresistible way has that good new-car smell about it that hooks you right in, and it's like that for the duration, partly because guitarist Shawn Purcell and tenor saxist Doug Webb make the absolute most of their opportunity here.
Guitarist/composer John Hart spent 30 years in Brooklyn where he met bassist Bill Moring and drummer Tim Horner. The three reconvene on Hart's 'Exit from Brooklyn' (Zoho Music) for their fourth trio outing since 2000 on a beautiful 10-track project.
Monk in Motion: The Next Face of Jazz is a partnership between BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center and the Thelonious Monk Institute that presents the top three winners from the renowned Annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. This year's three finalists, Jazzmeia Horn, Veronica Swift and Vuyo Sotashe, outstanding jazz vocalists, will perform with their own combos from various parts of the world.
The first Thelonious Monk composition that NRBQ pianist/founder Terry Adams, 67, ever heard was "Off Minor." It was the early 1960s and it blew his mind. Adams had been figuring out that age-old I-IV-V blues progression. He had never heard anything like Monk! It started a lifelong fascination that has now culminated in 'Talk Thelonious' by Adams and his NRBQ band-mates on vinyl (Euclid Records) and CD (Clang! via Burnside Distribution).
As of late, a new trove of Thelonious Monk recordings have been compiled for listeners of all stripes. A fifteen-disc set, 'Thelonious Monk: The Complete Riverside Recordings' is comprised of sessions both live and in the studio for the Riverside label, this marks his most complete set to date.
It was said by one of the most famous and influential jazz pianists of the century, Thelonius Monk, that he wanted to find the "space" between the black and white keys on the piano.
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