240

Brian Trainor: Monk & Me

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
For a few years in the early 90s I ran a coffeehouse that weekly (some say weakly) presented local jazz acts. From fusion to solo piano, I had but one requirement of any musician. Play at least one Thelonious Monk tune per night and the gig was yours. Deviously simple, Monk’s music always separates the talented from the fake. I regularly challenged them by requesting “Epistrophy, “Evidence,” and “Trinkle-Tinkle.” Most beginners choose the Blues, “Straight, No Chaser.” Chicken! Monk, to me is incomparable as an original composer whose music is instantly recognizable. That may be why piano tribute albums to Thelonious are problematic; either they are copying or they fire off-the-mark. Monk could do Monk, so can soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy (piano-less), Jerry Gonzalez or Danilo Perez (as Latin-Monk), Drummers Ralph Peterson or Paul Motian (piano-less), and saxophonists Steve Slagle or Bennie Wallace (again piano-less). Monk’s distinguishing voice warns imitators to speak with their own tongues.

Brian Trainor covers Monk on only four of the fourteen tracks. Smart move. His Monk is the Monk of the academy-trained pianist. To his credit, he allows saxophonist Richie Cole and Steve Marcus to shine on the Monk blowing vehicles “Let’s Cool One” and “Well You Needn’t.” To his credit, he isn’t Monk derivative. Trainor favors the post-bop piano of Bill Evans. His covers of Monk, like Keith Jarrett’s standards repertoire, remain in their own voice. With that said, Trainor’s composition, “Monk & Me,” tosses us a fine curveball. While I listened to it, convinced it was a Monk original, I spun my mental rolodex to come up with the name. Trainor had captured both Thelonious’ playing and writing. Ba-bing! He’s got himself a single, if there were such things as jazz jukeboxes. Kelly Rodrigues’ vocal on “Still We Dream” reminds me of Carmen McRae’s great Sings Monk record. The only disappointment here was bop trumpeter John Swana who traded his axe for the electric EVI. It was weird but not wonderful.

Track List:Let’s Cool One; Hackensack; Bernstein’s Girl; Monk & Me; Cape May Freeway; Face Intro; One Face, One Smile, One Heart; Still We Dream; Straight No Chaser; B’s Waltz; Well You Needn’t; Again To This Star; Cape May Freeway (Rush Hour Mix); Monk & Me (Me & Monk Mix).

Personnel: Brian Trainor

| Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Jackie Allen Jackie Allen
vocalist
Tom Tallitsch Tom Tallitsch
sax, tenor
Ingrid Jensen Ingrid Jensen
trumpet
Mark Colby Mark Colby
saxophone
Joel Harrison Joel Harrison
guitar, electric
Terry Plumeri Terry Plumeri
bass, acoustic
Ron Kaplan Ron Kaplan
vocalist
John Bishop John Bishop
drums
Eric Bolvin Eric Bolvin
trumpet
John McNeil John McNeil
trumpet
Billy Kilson Billy Kilson
drums

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "San Ygnacio" CD/LP/Track Review San Ygnacio
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 8, 2016
Read "Shoebox View" CD/LP/Track Review Shoebox View
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 4, 2016
Read "Nearness And You, Duets and Improvisations" CD/LP/Track Review Nearness And You, Duets and Improvisations
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 13, 2016
Read "Wash My Horse In Champagne" CD/LP/Track Review Wash My Horse In Champagne
by James Nadal
Published: July 15, 2016
Read "Message In Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Message In Motion
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 27, 2016
Read "Bambulaye" CD/LP/Track Review Bambulaye
by James Nadal
Published: March 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!