All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

414

Peter Bernstein: Monk

By

Sign in to view read count
How and by whom a piece of music is presented profoundly influences how it's heard. This would seem to be a truism, but it is one often contradicted. Case in point: a band begins playing a Duke Ellington standard and there's recognition and approval from the audience, the "I like Duke" effect. When this happens with a singer beginning "Satin Doll" the irony is lost. Ellington disliked those Johnny Mercer lyrics so much he rarely presented a vocal version of the piece himself. Which bring us to Thelonious Monk.

He never employed or recorded with a guitarist (save early bootlegged jam sessions with Charlie Christian and a big band with Howard Roberts) and his piano playing and arranging can hardly be called guitar-like. Hearing guitar play Monk's music is like hearing an orchestral version of a Wagner opera aria; it reveals a wholly different aspect of the music. While Monk's own versions put emphasis on the disjointed angularity and idiosyncrasies of the music, guitar interpretations bring out their lyrical, melodious side. Howard Alden is good at this, but until this CD, the only other guitarist with a knack for bringing out that side of Monk who devoted a whole album to it was Joshua Breakstone. Peter Bernstein's trio approach can be encapsulated in the title of the opening track: "Let's Cool One."

Like Ben Riley's Monk Legacy Band, which also employs a guitar (and no piano), this trio brings out the strong melodicism inherent in Monk's music. And Bernstein is a graceful guitarist who polishes the rough pianistic edges Monk gouged into his tunes, as can be heard on his solo version of "Monk's Mood." The trio pieces remain largely true to the tempos, an important part of Monk's conception, but bassist Doug Weiss and especially drummer Bill Stewart rile up the surface just enough to save these interpretations from being obsequiously polite.

Track Listing: Bemsha Swing; Pannonica; Work; Brilliant Corners; Monk's Mood; Well You Needn't; Let's Cool One; In Walked Bud; Light Blue; Played Twice; Ruby, My Dear; Blues 5 Spot; Reflections.

Personnel: Peter Bernstein: guitar; Doug Weiss: bass; Bill Stewart: drums.

Title: Monk | Year Released: 2008

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Love & Peace CD/LP/Track Review
Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read La Saboteuse CD/LP/Track Review
La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Playground CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Memories of Maynard CD/LP/Track Review
Memories of Maynard
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 20, 2018
Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "3rio" CD/LP/Track Review 3rio
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 1, 2017
Read "DICE" CD/LP/Track Review DICE
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 11, 2017
Read "A Humdrum Star" CD/LP/Track Review A Humdrum Star
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 9, 2018
Read "Trio / Chinese Jesus" CD/LP/Track Review Trio / Chinese Jesus
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 26, 2017
Read "Songs Without Words" CD/LP/Track Review Songs Without Words
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone" CD/LP/Track Review Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 13, 2017