8

Wadada Leo Smith: Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Wadada Leo Smith: Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk
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

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Sone Ka-la 2: Odyssey
Jacques Schwarz-Bart
It's My Turn
The Echo Park Project
Da Fé
Dan Blake
Dream Disobedience
Elisabeth Harnik / Michael Zerang

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.