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John Beasley: Monk'estra, Vol. 2

Angelo Leonardi By

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Dopo il primo volume (Monk'estra vol.1, Mack Avenue 2016), John Beasley amplia l'organico e invita nuovi ospiti per un'altra rivisitazione del pianeta Monk. Galvanizzato dalle ottime accoglienze del debutto, il bandleader presenta nuovi estrosi arrangiamenti dal classico songbook del pianista. In effetti il vocabolario orchestrale monkiano è quasi tutto da costruire se si eccettuano i progetti del 1959 e 1963 di Hall Overton e poco altro. John Beasley smussa l'originale dimensione angolare e allucinata dei brani, privilegando frenesia e colori smaglianti. Il modello a lui più vicino (non tanto per la complessità metrica ma per l'eccentricità degli accostamenti timbrici, la forza degli ottoni e la tensione ritmica) è Don Ellis o l'ultimo Stan Kenton.

L'organico orchestrale è composto da eccellenti professionisti e non solo (si pensi a Bob Sheppard) ma è arricchito da ospiti che danno piena impronta ai brani loro affidati. È il caso della violinista Regina Carter in «Crepuscule with Nellie», di Kamasi Washington e Conrad Herwig in «Evidence», della cantante Dianne Reeves in «Dear Ruby» (ovvero «Ruby, My Dear») o del percussionista Pedrito Martinez in «Criss Cross».

Una trasfigurazione che qualcuno giudicherà un po' fuori le righe (l'innesto rap di Dontae Winslow in «Brake's Sake» o il torrido funk di «I Mean You») ma che noi consideriamo vivace e appassionante. Una rilettura che dimostra le doti di Beasley e —ancora una volta —la duttilità dei temi di Monk.

Track Listing: Brake’s Sake; Played Twice; Crepuscule with Nellie; Evidence; Ugly Beauty/Pannonica; I Mean You; Light Blue; Dear Ruby; Criss Cross; Work.

Personnel: John Beasley, piano, synthesizer; arranger; conductor; Bijon Watson, Jamie Hovorka, James Ford, Brian Swartz (1–3, 5–7, 9–10), Brandyn Phillips (4,8): trumpets; Francisco Torres (2–6, 8–10), Wendell Kelly, Ryan Dragon, Steve Hughes, Ido Meshulam (1,7): trombones; Bob Sheppard, Danny Janklow, Tom Luer (1–3, 5–7, 9–10), Thomas Peterson, Adam Schroeder, Alex Budman (4, 8): woodwinds; John Beasley: piano; Ben Shepherd: bass; Terreon Gully, Gene Coye (7): drums; Dontae Winslow: trumpet, rap vocal (1); Regina Carter: violin (3); Kamasi Washington: tenor saxophone (4); Conrad Herwig: trombone (4); Dianne Reeves: vocal (8); Pedrito Martinez: conga, bata (9).

Title: Monk'estra, Vol. 2 | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Mack Avenue Records

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