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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thelonious Monk: Mønk

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There is certainly no shortage of Thelonious Monk live albums--there are several dozen, in fact--but not too many such recordings have been rescued from a skip, as seems to be the case with this long-lost tape of Monk from a 1963 concert at Odd Fellow Palaeet, Copenhagen. Lovingly restored by Gearbox Records, the recording finds Monk with long-term collaborator Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone and a cooking rhythm section of double bassist John Ore and drummer Frankie Dunlop. It is, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thelonious Monk: Mønk

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Summer 2018 has seen the release of previously unknown recordings by two giants of mid-twentieth century jazz. First we had John Coltrane's Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!), and now Thelonious Monk's live album Mønk. Both discs were made in 1963. The breathless hyperbole which greeted the Coltrane was unjustified, if predictable, but the album is nonetheless a valuable addition to the archive. The Monk is, quite simply, among the pianist's strongest quartet recordings. Mønk was ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thelonious Monk: Mønk

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Closely following the release of John Coltrane's Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!, 2018), this year brings us another previously unreleased gem from the golden age of jazz. The status of Thelonius Monk in the early 1960s, is indisputable and this recently discovered session recorded at a live performance in Copenhagen's Old Fellow Palæet, in 1963 validates the pianist's standing. The engineers at the UK's Gearbox Records undertook a painstaking process to restore and master the original tapes, ...

Thelonious Monk Inside Out: A Fresh Perspective On His Music

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Over the years, Thelonious Monk has resided in our collective minds and hearts like the extra-terrestrial “E.T." or Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, or some such alien figure whom we don't fully understand yet love and enjoy. His music shocks and disturbs us, yet we take great pleasure in it like a jolting ride at an amusement park. Monk's eccentric way of playing disrupts our equilibrium, yet it attracts us by its charm and wit. Musicians immerse themselves ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Monk's Trumpets

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Thelonious Monk's recording career as a leader only lasted twenty-four years, from 1947 to 1971. When it comes to horn players, most people interested in Monk associate him with the tenor saxophone, and rightfully so as Johnny Griffin, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Charlie Rouse stand tall in Monk's recorded legacy. The alto saxophone was present from his first record as a leader, but no alto players were able to contribute substantially beyond strong work as sidemen. Gigi Gryce stands ...

IN PICTURES

Celebrating centennials at Moncalieri Jazz Festival

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After the two concerts which opened its 20th edition, the Moncalieri Jazz Festival shifted to full throttle with four more great nights of music, each celebrating the centennials of jazz giants born in 1917. The first evening was dedicated to Ella Fitzgerald. Italian-Algerian vocalist Karima performed “Voices," a special project commissioned by the festival, accompanied by the tight-knit trio of Fabio Giachino, Davide Liberti and Ruben Bellavia. The following evening was dedicated to Thelonious Monk with ...

HIGHLY OPINIONATED

Who Needs Monk?

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2017 is Thelonious Monk's hundredth anniversary year and as good a time as any to ask whether he has anything to teach young, ambitious, up-and-coming jazz musicians today. Monk's recordings still nurture and entertain countless jazz fans, and the clarity and directness of his conception makes him a wonderful “introductory" artist for newbies. Gigging jazz musicians draw from the well of his compositions to fill their sets, and it's hard to imagine a future where “'Round Midnight" or ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

C. Michael Bailey’s Best Recordings of 2017

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This year marks my 20th contributing to AAJ. Twenty years ago, I was 38 years old looking for an outlet for my music writing that had somehow avoided me until I came across an opportunity disguised as a call for articles from one Michael Ricci in jny: Philadelphia. I emailed my review of Art Pepper's San Francisco Samba (Contemporary, 1997) and I have been contributing to AAJ since. That said, I want to tip my hat to my ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Misterioso

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Music and improvisation--that comes naturally to our ears but what if we say life and improvisation? Huh? Well, life is improvisation is it not? How do we deal best with that period of time between birth and death that we call life? Life is a strange dance partner--it offers one fun, friends, food, love, knowledge, discovery but lets you know throughout that death is part of this deal called life. Does improvisation sound more inviting now? These are ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thelonious Monk: Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960

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Few things are as infused with as much romance as are those thought lost. Take the entire myth of blues singer Robert Johnson. He produced 29 shellac sides in the late 1920s that had immeasurable influence on American folk music after and then he disappeared. He did exist, but exists now only as a phantom, a heat apparition rising from a dusty dirt road in some God-forsaken Third-World corner of these United States. Yet his visage beckons like Ahab from ...