Dan Bilawsky was mightily impressed with Greg Lewis' two previous Organ Monk offerings, Two in the Black (Self Produced, 2012) and Organ Monk (Self Produced, 2010), where he notes the challenges to non-piano surveys of Thelonious Monk's canon. Greatly in absence is the element of Monk's percussive pianism. But Bilawsky notes that Lewis compensates for this with color and timing, revealing other, hidden aspects of Monk rarely considered. American Standard is cleverly programmed to include those Great American Songbook" standards long associated with Monk. Reflecting the majority of Monk's Standards (Columbia, 1989), a compilation recording focusing on ...read more
Many a jazz musician visits the territory of pianist Thelonious Monk for a short spell, but organist Greg Lewis seems to have signed up for an extended stay. His Organ Monk (Self Produced, 2010) proved to be a completely original and exciting take on the music of the man affectionately and reverently called the High Priest of Bop, but Lewis didn't linger on this success. He buckled down and put together a sequel that is every bit as enjoyable, though different from its recorded predecessor. Organ Monk 1.0 was a trio powered by Cindy Blackman's bruising drumming, ...read more
It takes abundant courage and uncommon musical vision to radically reinterpret the works of such an idiosyncratic genius as pianist Thelonious Monk. Fortunately, organist Greg Lewis possesses both as is evident on the second volume of his Organ Monk trilogy, Uwo In The Black. As he did on Organ Monk (Self Produced, 2010), Lewis adds a few of his own tunes to the Monk repertoire, seamlessly blending into the overall thematic structure. The organist's In the Black--My Nephew" is a requiem of sorts, with his instrument's expansive and full sound creating a sacred sanctuary, while riding on ...read more
Uwo in the Black is organist Greg Lewis' second recording based on Thelonious Monk's music--in fact, it is the second in a projected trilogy. Lewis' debut in 2010, Organ Monk, gained high respect from critics. Whereas, the first effort was a trio affair, Lewis expands the group here by adding Reginald R. Woods on tenor saxophone. Woods' hard-edged tone and highly-charged style bring the flavor of Monk's regular tenor man Charlie Rouse to the studio. The sax also adds considerably to the powerful mix supplied by Lewis' Hammond C3 organ, Ron Jackson's gutsy guitar, and, most importantly, Nasheet Waits' primal ...read more
Fairly recent work from guitarists Bobby Broom and Peter Bernstein helped open up possibilities for Thelonious Monk's music as guitar repertoire; Greg Lewis' debut looks to do the same for the organ. Monk's music has been notoriously tough to translate on other chordal instruments, partially because of the song structures and melodies themselves, and partly due to the nature of the piano. Monk's unique understanding of close voicing and chordal construction on the piano helped to inextricably link his compositions to that instrument. In addition, his touch--which often possessed percussive heft, but could also prove to be ...read more
Reinventing the music of Thelonious Monk is no easy task, but organist Greg Lewis does precisely that on Organ Monk. Backed solely by drummer Cindy Blackman and guitarist Ron Jackson, Lewis goes through fifteen of Monk's timeless classics, adapting them to the feel of an organ trio.Kicking off with an up-tempo take on Tinkle Tinkle," the disc starts with a drum/organ duet that gives way to a flawless guitar solo from Jackson, before quickly closing with the outro. Lewis is at the forefront of Jacking," with a few accents from Blackman, who enhances the bandleader's solos with precise ...read more
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