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Remember when you first encountered Thelonious Monk's music? His compositions came at you from such a new perspective that you might have rejected them flat out. Or perhaps, interest piqued, you listened to more, succumbing to Monk's logic.
Yes, now you are a member of Monk's world. One with crazy dances and headgear, a knowing world, nearly a quarter century after the composer's death, that has never failed to be hip.
Covers and cover bands abound. Steve Lacy with his soprano comes to mind, as does pianist Walter Davis Jr.'s In Walked Thelonious, Per Henrik Wallin's 9.9.99, Carmen McRae's vocals on Carmen Sings Monk, and Danilo Perez's Latin rhythms on Panamonk. If you "get" Monk, you can play his music on saxophone, guitaror for that matter, lute.
That's exactly what the Drechsler/Steger/Tanschek Trio does on The Monk In All Of Us with bass/contrabass clarinet, bass, and drums. They also get a bit of help on half the tracks from trumpeter Lorenz Raab. Their music captures the joy (!) of Monk, its unbalanced balance and fragrance. Drechsler's deep clarinet voice channels Eric Dolphy and that sheltering scream. Mixed with Raab's muted brass, the coolness doubles.
Raab's open trumpet opens "San Francisco Holiday" not unlike a Dave Douglas solo from a Masada performance, only to call the trio to play the composition as a burlesque show might. Weird, but not unfamiliar. The short sharpness of "Evidence" is maintained with bursts of brass and the swift brushwork of Harald Tanschek's drums. Bassist Oliver Steger escorts "Ruby, My Dear" solo. Monk would have approved of the way he lets the vibrations linger to effect the mood. Likewise, "Monk's Mood" tiptoes on the bass clarinet of Drechsler and brushwork of Tanschek.
Offbeat but consistent with Monk's compositions, this tribute is worthy of the great man's logic.
Track Listing: Criss Cross; Bemsha Swing; Monk's Mood; Played Twice; Ruby, My Dear; San Francisco Holiday;
Bye-Ya; Pannonica; Evidence; Monk's Dream.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.