Thelonious Monk Songbook – The Composer Collection Vol. 4: Music of the Sphere – High Note

by | Jun 16, 2010 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Thelonious Monk Songbook – The Composer Collection Vol. 4: Music of the Sphere – High Note Records HCD 6023, 65:00 *****:

(Frank Morgan – alto Sax, George Cables – piano, Curtis Lundy – bass, Billy Hart – drums, Larry Willis – piano, Eddie Gomez – bass, Billy Drummond – drums, Larry Coryell – guitar, Willie Williams – tenor sax, Santi Debriano – bass, Yuron Israel – drums, Arthur Blythe – alto sax, Gust William Tsilis – marimba, Bob Stewart – tuba, Cecil Brooks III – drums, Joel Harrison – guitar, David Binney – alto sax, Jerpome Sabbag – tenor sax, Ambrose Akinmusire – trumpet, Corey King – trombone, Christian Howes – violin, Daniel Kelly – keyboards, Stephan Crump – acoustic bass, Bob Devos – guitar, Dan Kostelnik – Hammond B-3, Steve Johns – drums, Houston Person – tenor sax, Sonny Phillips – organ, Frankie Jones – drums, John Hicks – piano, Mary Lou Williams – piano, Larry Gales – bass, Eddie Marshall – drums, Eric Alexander – tenor sax, Harold Mabern – piano, Nat Reeves – bass, Eric Reed – piano, Marcus Printup – trumpet, Walter Blanding Jr. – tenor sax, Rodney Whittaker – bass, Rodney Green – drums)

Cover or compilation albums; probably the best aknowledgement that an artist has procured a tenure or reputation in their business as being the cat’s pajamas in their field.  Thelonious Monk IS that cat.  As quiet as this man was in person he would command your ears with his piano work and compositions.  Eleven of Monk’s songs can be heard on Music of Sphere;  a collaborative effort to introduce, reintroduce and blow the mind of any Monk fan or newbie alike.  [His full name was Thelonious Sphere Monk – that’s why it’s not Music of the Spheres…Ed.]

As you can see from the list of artists performing on this album, the Monk impression is felt deeply throughout the genre.  The compositions are worked, reinvented and taken on new creative journeys by some of the greatest jazz performers of our time.  The way these artists honor Thelonious Monk’s work collective is as much about the man as it is the music.  One can’t describe the way Monk transcended ordinary azz with enough accuracy because he was so new and fresh with each song; each album.  Music Of The Sphere gives all listeners alike a new found respect for the music and the man that invented it.

Music of the Sphere is an eccentric mix of some of Monk’s most curious tracks.  ‘Round Midnight, Trinkle Trinkle, and I Mean You are my favorite cuts on the CD.  Each of the eleven songs on the album are a trip in themselves.  No tracks shorter than 4 ½ minutes and all are pure luxury from start to finish.

1. I Mean You
2. Rhythm-a-Ning
3. Trinkle Tinkle
4. Stuffy Turkey
5. Straight, No Chaser
6. Ask Me Now
7. Blue Monk
8. Light Blue
9. ‘Round Midnight
10. Ruby My Dear
11. Evidence / Think of One

— Paul Pelon IV

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