Saturday, August 8, 2009

Monk; The Genius of Modern Music - Part II

3 Prestige Years - Trio

Monk started recording for prestige in October, 1952. It was a short term contract and the result was two and a half album (with alternative takes and everything, 4 CDs in Prestige box set reissue). Despite more freedom Monk had in that time, the recordings with trio (Gerry Mapp on bass and Art Blakey on drums) seems less adventurous than Blue Note takes. The sessions continued till the September of 1954. During this time he changed the rhythm section from Mapp/Blakey to Mapp/Roach. Some time later he teamed up again with Art Blakey and this time with Percy Heath on bass. Most Monk fans consider this latter line up one of the best Monk trios and probably one of the best trios in history of jazz. The CD which is coming from these sessions called Thelonious Monk Trio and starts with the last session in the row to stimulate the listeners with the completely new rhythmic and harmonic structures of Monk-Blakey summit.

Monk with Eric Dolphy

Monk’s treatment of standards is remarkable. “When he strips a tune down, he arranges the constituent parts by the numbers, like a rifleman at boot camp, with the overall shape and function always evident. On ‘these foolish things’ and ‘sweet and lovely’ he never for a moment loses sight of the melody and, as with the originals, builds a carefully crafted performance that is light-years away from the conventional theme-solo-theme format into which even relatively adventurous jazz performance seemed to be locked. A vital episode in modern jazz; the precise format chosen will depend on level of interest and budget, for it’s almost impossible to go wrong.” Say Morton and Cook on their four stars review of Monk trio album. Monk was always interested in the word, ‘modern’, and he usually used the phrase in his rare conversations with fellow musicians. With the prestige dates he interred himself directly to the mystic territory of 20th modern artists. The most obvious evident of this idea is the obscure modern paintings as cover of his classic prestige LPs. At that time Monk was in the same league as Henry Moore, Giorgio de Chirico, Joan MirĂ³ and as Avant-garde as any other name in history of modern art in the first half of the previous century.

Thelonious Monk Trio

Thelonious Monk (p) Gerry Mapp (b) Art Blakey (d)

NYC, October 15, 1952

Little Rootie Tootie/ Sweet and Lovely /Bye-Ya/ Monk's Dream

Thelonious Monk Trio

Thelonious Monk (p) Gerry Mapp (b) Max Roach (d)

NYC, December 18, 1952

Trinkle, Tinkle/ These Foolish Things /Bemsha Swing /Reflections

Thelonious Monk Trio

Thelonious Monk (p) Percy Heath (b -1/3) Art Blakey (d -1/3)

Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, NJ, September 22, 1954

Work / Nutty / Blue Monk / Just a Gigolo

No comments:

Post a Comment