All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

8

Wadada Leo Smith: Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
The most fitting tribute to Thelonious Monk on the 100th anniversary of his birth was not by a pianist, but by a trumpeter, and not any ordinary trumpeter. Wadada Leo Smith, like Monk, is a musician's musician. While his peers have seemingly always investigated his music, it took the listening audience (and, ahem, critics) awhile to catch up on his music. After his Pulitzer Prize nomination in 2013, for Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform, 2012), the proverbial flood gates opened on his music. He has produced large ensemble works, recorded a haunting duo A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke (ECM, 2016) with Vijay Iyer, and listeners have awakened to his earlier work with Anthony Braxton, Ed Blackwell, and Marion Brown.

Smith covers four Monk compositions, "Ruby, My Dear," "Crepuscule with Nellie," "Reflections," and "´Round Midnight," and imagines Thelonious in four originals.

While this is a solo recording, on pieces like "Crepuscule with Nellie," where Smith plays the melody, there is also the presence of Monk accompanying the horn. Smith allows for enough space here, and in each composition, for us to perceive a figurative presentation of Monk's piano. This makes for an almost supernatural sound.

"Reflections" is played with a mute attached to his horn. Its effect is to almost make the music a spoken word piece. Contrast this with "´Round Midnight." Played with an open bell, it might be the most demanding music here. Not challenging for the listeners, but for a trumpeter to perform. Smith not only tames the trumpet beast, but domesticates its sound.

The original compositions are Monk-like dreams, "Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Café," the escapism of "Monk and Bud Powell at Shea Stadium -A Mystery," and two versions of "Adagio," one with mute and one without. This may be the finest Monk tribute recording to come out of the centenary celebration.

Track Listing: Ruby, My Dear; Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Café; Reflections; Adagio: Monkishness - A Cinematic Vision of Monk Playing Solo Piano; Crepuscule with Nellie; Adagio: Monk, the Composer in Sepia - A Second Vision Thelonious Monk; Monk and Bud Powell at Shea Stadium - A Mystery; ´Round Midnight.

Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet

Title: Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: TUM Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Cafe

Monk and His Five Point Ring at the Five Spot Cafe

Wadada Leo Smith
Solo: Reflections and...

Najwa

Najwa

Wadada Leo Smith
Najwa

Dred Scott: 1857

Dred Scott: 1857

Wadada Leo Smith
Ten Freedom Summers

South Central L.A. Kulture

South Central L.A. Kulture

Wadada Leo Smith
Spiritual Dimensions

CD/LP/Track Review
Best of / Year End
Multiple Reviews
Best of / Year End
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Araminta

Araminta

Sunnyside Records
2017

buy
Najwa

Najwa

TUM Records
2017

buy
Ocean of Storms

Ocean of Storms

Self Produced
2017

buy
America’s National Parks

America’s National...

Cuneiform Records
2016

buy
America's National Parks

America's National...

Cuneiform Records
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Just Wants To Have Fun
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 23, 2018
Read Where We Stand CD/LP/Track Review
Where We Stand
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 23, 2018
Read Vagabond Soul CD/LP/Track Review
Vagabond Soul
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 23, 2018
Read Home Boy, Sister Out CD/LP/Track Review
Home Boy, Sister Out
by Chris May
Published: July 22, 2018
Read Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album Deluxe Edition CD/LP/Track Review
Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2018
Read The Literature CD/LP/Track Review
The Literature
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2018
Read "Home Counties" CD/LP/Track Review Home Counties
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh" CD/LP/Track Review Undercurrent - Live at Theater Gutersloh
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 9, 2018
Read "Tensegridad" CD/LP/Track Review Tensegridad
by John Sharpe
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Three Pictures" CD/LP/Track Review Three Pictures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 23, 2018
Read "Falling Forward" CD/LP/Track Review Falling Forward
by James Nadal
Published: July 27, 2017