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With this release, Italian pianist/arranger Claudio Angeleri and his orchestra render various slants on a portion of the Thelonious Monk discography. Recorded live at an Italian theater, the band kicks off the program with a straightforward spin of “Epistrophy.” However, the fun really starts with the second piece “Well You Needn’t,” featuring gritty solo endeavors by tenor saxophonist Marco Gotti, alto saxophonist Gianluigi Trovesi and others. Here and throughout, the band offers slight variations amid a few nicely placed twists and turns largely due to the leader’s interleaving horn charts. Moreover, the orchestra frequently uses components of any given tune as a means for extending mini-themes into various extensions of Monk’s inherent rhythmic ideologies. Angeleri’s extended solo on “Pannonica” is awash with lyrically charged chord progressions to coincide with his delicate touch and strong sense of swing. Whereas the ensemble employs an animated and consistently upbeat approach on “Eronel.”
It’s not all about reengineering Monk’s songbook! Yet, Angeleri’s visions cast a contemporary outlook to these works that have been endlessly rehashed by many of today’s jazz stars. They swing hard, and present a polytonal outlook. Angeleri and co should be commended here. Recommended...
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.