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In November of 2000 aboard a ship adrift on the Atlantic Ocean, reedman Joe Temperley joined pianist Junior Mance's Floating Jazz Festival Trio in what proved to be a perfect setting for a tribute to the music of Thelonious Monk. Like Monk, the waters beneath them were capable of powerful swings and torrents, and also like Monk, their music was pronounced amid a shroud of relative isolation.
Throughout this live set, Temperley and Mance - joined by the gifted rhythm section of bassist Peter Washington and veteran drummer Mickey Roker – drive Monk's music to deserved heights and moody lows. The opener, "Blue Monk," is given a gin-soaked treatment by Temperley's swaying bass clarinet, which is then reinforced by an appropriately blue-hued Mance solo and finally cemented by Washington's spot-lit rolls and picks.
On "Ask Me Now," Temperley cedes the floor to the trio, leaving them to take on one of Monk's more lyrical and melancholic works. They do so ably and with utmost care – evoking an image of Monk as the delicate dynamo he was. Another highlight is the group's work on the infectiously swinging "Rhythm-A-Ning." Mance pulls out all the stops from gate to gate, while Temperley, on baritone sax, flutters and flips his way through with remarkable dexterity.
From start to finish, it is evident that these four know their Monk. In fact, so familiar are they with the material that they infused it with a charming, lived-in quality which few other ensembles could manage. Their approach to the artist is hardly revolutionary, but rather warm, intimate and accustomed.
It's hard to say whether Monk ever sailed the seas on a sprawling cruiseliner, but thanks to Mance, Temperley and company we now know that setting would have agreed with him just fine.
Track Listing: 1. Blue Monk 9:07
2. Little Rootie Tootie 8:19
3. Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are 7:25
4. Ask Me Now 9:13
5. I Mean You 7:48
6. Rhythm-a-ning 6:51
7. Straight No Chaser 7:46
8. Hackensack 9:42
Personnel: Joe Temperley - bass clarinet, baritone sax, soprano sax;
Keter Betts - bass;
Junior Mance - piano;
Mickey Roker - drums;
Peter Washington - bass;
Jackie Williams - drums.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com