Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

249

The Microscopic Septet: Friday the Thirteenth - The Micros Play Monk

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
One of New York City's favorites, The Microscopic Sextet's 30-year run has seen a dormant period, but has been revitalized via its affiliation with Cuneiform Records. With its fourth release for the label, Thelonious Monk's influence and eternal spirit yields a wittily entertaining facelift via the septet's customary off-center expansions on bop and swing, to complement the intermittent jiggle to the avant-garde. Its musicians are true to form with their holistic stance on Monk's discography, and, thankfully, they coat the material with a fresh spin, which is the antidote to the present, and seemingly well-worn, literal renditions of the master's songbook.

Perhaps not the unit's most radical outing, Friday the Thirteenth—The Micros Play Monk is centered on modern jazz classics, and not comprised of the artists' respective compositions. Therefore, it probably wouldn't be a wise idea to mash and slash Monk's work into oblivion—loosely speaking, that is. But with minor detours and clever rhythmic deviations amid a few nicely placed freeform jaunts, the music is a study in contrasts and textural arrays. Add the sometimes hyper-mode soloing and tenderly coined choruses, and the septet hearkens to a different drummer on "Teo," due to drummer Richard Dworkin's wily, surf rock tom patterns and the horn section's revved-up phrasings and improvised breakdown. They inject quotes from other Monk pieces not represented on the album, while instilling a cha-cha vibe during "We See." Then, on "Epistrophy," Dave Sewelson's popping baritone sax notes give way to a sprightly multi-register blast from his fellow horn-men, atop Dworkin's perky Latin groove.

Devoid of clichés and the old wine-new bottle equation, The Microscopic Septet, as anticipated, delivers the goods with its signature mode of adventure and quirkiness. It's a colloquy that professes a sense of newness under the portent that the musicians have aligned their creative juices with Monk's spirit—and nod of approval from above.

Track Listing: Brilliant Corners; Friday the 13th; Gallop's Gallop; Teo; Pannonica; Evidence; We See; Off Minor; Bye-Ya; Worry Later; Misterioso; Epistrophy.

Personnel: Phillip Johnston: soprano sax; Don Davis: alto sax; Mike Hashim: tenor sax; Dave Sewelson: baritone sax; Joel Forrester: piano; David Hofstra: double-bass; Richard Dworkin: drums.

Title: Friday the Thirteenth - The Micros Play Monk | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Cuneiform Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Through The Glass" CD/LP/Track Review Through The Glass
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Dreams" CD/LP/Track Review Dreams
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 7, 2018
Read "Chrome" CD/LP/Track Review Chrome
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 11, 2017
Read "Port Of Call" CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "Glow of Benares" CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Introducing...Rubén González" CD/LP/Track Review Introducing...Rubén González
by James Nadal
Published: June 16, 2017