Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers 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!

7

Clarence Penn & Penn Station: Monk: The Lost Files

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
A well-established creative paradigm exists to justify Clarence Penn & Penn Station's recording Monk: The Lost Files. "Classical" music is often considered that music, composed long ago, that has stood the test of time, remaining viable to the public in recordings and live performance. These composers of this music tend to be Europeans from the last Millennium. It is the only logical jump to include American jazz composers like Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and our focus here, Thelonious Monk as composers of "Classical" music.

In traditional Classical music, it is common for the performer (at least since Franz Liszt and Niccolo Paganini) to provide their personal spin on the music. Jazz, of course, takes this practice a step further in improvisation. Monk's music remains a rich loam of material from which new ideas spring from the minds of thoughtful and intelligent interpreters. Drummer Clarence Penn is such an interpreter. His approach is bold, yet respectful, not unlike Monk's himself.

Penn's approach to Monk is to challenge the composer and his compositions rhythmically, almost mathematically. Penn does not so much reharmonize Monk's material as he does re-accenting it. Penn moves the stresses in the music around. When listening to the opening "Well You Needn't" the listen will recognize Monk's craggy head, but it has been polished and made more regimented by Penn's arrangement. The remainder of the song is a dramatic updating. The bridge and soloing sections incorporate the spoken word and a Stanton Moore-like percussion environment, catalyzing a funky momentum.

"In Walked Bud" is transformed using the Fender Rhodes. Slowed down and performed with a deliberate attention to the piece's harmonic skeleton, pianist Donald Vega exposes the spirit of Monk's homage to his friend Bud Powell. An ethereal trio performance that shines like newly pressed steel. It is played as lightly as a ballad with Penn carefully outlining the rhythmic direction. Fractured are "I Mean You" and "Bemsha Swing" both featuring Chad Lefkowitz-Brown's tenor saxophone. The former is as regimented as a Jacksonian seizure while the latter takes on a relaxed post bop feel in portions. It is all Monk and all Penn.

Track Listing: Well, You Needn’t; Green Chimney; Evidence; Friday the 13th; I Mean You; In Walked Bud; Hackensack; Bemsha Swing; Think of One; Rhythm-a-ing; Solato’s Blues.

Personnel: Chad Lefkowitz-Brown: saxophones; Donald Vega: piano; Gerald Clayton: Fender Rhodes (5); Yasushi Nakamura: basses; Clarence Penn: drums.

Title: Monk: The Lost Files | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Origin Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Formidable CD/LP/Track Review Formidable
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Cochonnerie CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Threes CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Smoke CD/LP/Track Review Smoke
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "Going North" CD/LP/Track Review Going North
by Chris Mosey
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Nick Davies
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass" CD/LP/Track Review Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "The Return of Art Pepper" CD/LP/Track Review The Return of Art Pepper
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 8, 2017
Read "mono no aware" CD/LP/Track Review mono no aware
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor