Tag Archives: thelonious monk

Boo Boo’s Dad’s Birthday

24 hours of the master on WKCR – from Monday at 12 am on. Guess I better start that Spotify list of fave Monk covers. It kicks off with Sphere’s “We See,” I know that much.

Monk Covers, As Promised

Which Monk Tune Is Most Fun To Play?

Glee spilled from Anthony Coleman’s fingers last night as he and his trio skipped around “Played Twice” the Undead Jazz Fest’s Littlefield hit. Terry Adams once told me that it’s silly to play anything that’s not fun. Marc Ribot recently told me that “fun is the only impulse I trust.” Elliott Sharp and Matt Wilson also had a blast bouncing through the master’s book. Which Thelonious tune brings out the giddy side of you? The question isn’t for musicians only. Record-spinning fans can answer, too. One of mine is “Coming On the Hudson.” Take it away…


Here’s “Played Twice” – Team Coleman played it much quicker.

Fathers Day in Jazzville

Must be a treat to play music with a parent. In this case, a dad. A recent Facebook chat with a pal reminded me of seeing Dewey and Joshua Redman share a stage at a jazz fest outside Boston back in the late ’80s. I believe it was the first time I’d ever heard Josh play live (also heard him play last night, as fate would have it). There are several sons who have chosen to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, and several of them have had the opportunity to work together with their dads. Here are 10 of ’em. Hats off to those who are furthering the family tradition. 

1. Ornette and Denardo Coleman,  The Empty Foxhole  

2. Joe and Mat ManeriThree Men Walking 

3. Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, Jason and and Ellis Marsalis 

4. Dewey and Joshua Redman

5. Jackie and Rene MacLean 

6. Bucky & John Pizzarelli

7. Von & Chico Freeman

8. Dave & Darius and Chris Brubeck

9. John & Ravi Coltrane

10. Thelonious Monk & Thelonious Monk Jr.

Only One Song to Play Today

Digging the Derby: 10 Jazz Tunes To Spur On The Big Race

The most intense two minutes of annual sport – that’s what they call the Kentucky Derby, right? Hard to disagree. The horses and their riders prep for a year and they’re done in 125 seconds  or so. I’ll assume you’re one of the many who catches the event on the flat-screen, not one of the few who actually make it to Churchill Downs. And I’ll assume you need some tunes to tickle your fancy while fretting about that sizable bet you made earlier in the day. Here,then, are 10 songs with titles that can be applied to the contest at hand.  Throw ’em into a playlist and have fun. If they don’t work, call “Fugue For Tinhorns” jazz (it may well be) and have your fun that way.

Mint Julep, Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers (JSP)

Just keep sipping. Don’t let your mind wander to that wager you’ve made.

Saddle Up!   Bill Frisell, Go West: Music For the Films of Buster Keaton (Nonesuch)

Nice soundtrack for limbering up on the morning of the race.

Fast Track,  Miles Davis,  We Want Miles (Columbia)

Big grooves for a big day.

The Noonward Race, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, The Inner Mounting Flame (Columbia)

I’m not sure if good ole Seattle Slew could keep up with Billy Cobham on this one.

Gallop’s Gallop, Thelonious Monk, Live At The It Club (Columbia)

No one clops along as cleverly and confoundingly as Monk.

Racehorse, Count Basie Kansas City Three, For the Second Time(OJC)

Swinging around the track.

Daily Double, Buddy Rich, Ultimate Collection (Stardust)

If anyone can beat the odds and pick two winners at once, it’s Buddy.

My Gal’s a Jockey,  Big Joe Turner, All the Classic Hits (JSP)

Riding night and day, throwing that big leg over – how does Joe pay attention to the race?

Home Stretch, Billy Pierce, Equilateral (Sunnyside)

Check the snare, check the forward motion of the horn. They’re almost there…

Dead Heat, Kenny Burrell/Jimmy Raney, 2 Guitars (Prestige)

Definitely neck and neck down the stretch. Can’t really tell who won.

Photo Finish, Bobby Previte, Weather Clear, Track Fast (enja)

Sometimes it comes down to a shutter click. Previte knows all about chopping time into micro seconds.

Five Spot Farewell: Gallop’s Gallop

Those stopping into the Cooper Square coolsville on December 26, 1957 got to hear the last night of Thelonious Monk‘s landmark run. The bandleader called the Five Spot home for six months, a career turning point that furthered Monk’s name and generated an enormous amount of great music. The clip above is from The Sound of Jazz show, filmed a few weeks prior. The pianist’s Five Spot foil John Coltrane isn’t around for the cameras. He is part of this joyous Carnegie Hall gig on November 29, however – also recorded during these weeks.

The essential new bio by Robin D.G. Kelley tells us that Monk was irked that Count Basie was positioned at the side of his instrument, scrutinizing each new phrase that spilled from his fingers. Kelley rolls out info and insight on almost every page, and there’s an especially vivid chapter about the scene that blossomed around the Bowery bar during Monk’s reign.

Thank You Very Much, Mr. Monk

Stealing the Don Pullen song title to tip the hat to TSM, whose birthday is today. You know what he’s done for you. You walked different, talked different, and laughed different after being exposed to the great man’s canon, right? Me too. What’s your favorite Monk tune? Mine include “Light Blue,” “Nutty,” “We See,” “Crepuscule With Nellie,” and “Off Minor.” Solo clip of “Crepuscule” after the jump.

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