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John Stetch: Exponentially Monk (2004)

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John Stetch: Exponentially Monk How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

A solo piano album of classic Monk compositions marks a serious study of what we all like about jazz. The music swings, it has originality, and it provides the performer much room for spontaneity. John Stetch explores each one methodically and with careful consideration.

He dampens the piano's strings, alters notes with the pedal, and combines unlikely pairs of tones. With a deep, rumbling left-hand walking bass, he gives the music a consistent foundation. From there, he's free to build towers and bridges that represent Monk's quizzically intriguing escapades. The original intent is never lost, as Stetch has fun at the keyboard. His interpretations capture both a playful spirit and a carefree mood.

Study of Monk's compositions reveals a true love for lyrical melody as well as his recognized playful spirit. "Blue Monk," "Monk's Mood" and "'Round Midnight" speak expressive volumes. Stetch interprets each with a passionate love for the original. "Green Chimneys," "Well, You Needn't" and "Little Rootie Tootie," on the other hand give the pianist the urge to explore. His spontaneous jabs prove refreshing, and well worth the study that we've put into Monk's music. While remaining true to the originals, Stetch has given us a new look at Monk's creative genius.

Track Listing: Bright Mississippi; Well, You Needn't; Think Of One; Green Chimneys; Monk's Mood; Gallop's Gallop; Evidence; Ugly Beauty; Criss Cross; Blue Monk; Little Rootie Tootie; 'Round Midnight; Ask Me Now.

Personnel: John Stetch- piano.

Record Label: Justin Time Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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