Monday, July 26, 2010
Wynton Marsalis channels Louis Armstrong channeling Thelonious Monk
Can Ouija Boards be networked? Wynton Marsalis thinks so. I have been listening to the fourth volume of his Standard Time Series: Marsalis Plays Monk. The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (may it be praised!) informs me that Marsalis intended to "recast Monk's music in the form of the ensemble jazz of Louis Armstrong's jazz orchestra of 1927 and 1928." Okay. What?
I'm not sure what all that means, but this album is one more tent revival meeting for the cult of Monk. As a true believer, I can only say amen. Has any jazz composer been so frequently covered or so deeply worshiped as Thelonious Monk? Monk's compositions haunt modern jazz. You might enjoy a good evening by listening to this album along with Anthony Braxton's Monk album and Monk's own Brilliant Corners. Hey, I think I'll do that. Marsalis Plays Monk is a brilliant work, and brilliantly recorded. You can hear the buzz of the bass.
Here is an excerpt from one of the numbers. It is features the piano player Eric Reed. This guy straightens out Monk, in accord with the general theme, but that only highlights the genius of the composition. I love this piece of music.
Also don't miss the last piece on the album: 'Green Chimneys'. I didn't recognize that Monk number. I won't forget it.