Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Microscopic Septet Play Monk

As time goes by it becomes more and more clear that the music of Thelonious Monk has become a backbone of the jazz repertoire. At one time there was a great deal of lip service about his genius but not all that many covers. The more we go on in time, the less that is true.

The long-lived, always interesting Microscopic Sextet have a sort of quirkiness to them that makes their full attention to Monk's music logical and fortuitous (fortunate, that is).

And so it goes with their Friday the 13th: The Micros Play Monk (Rune 310).

When you think of mid-sized to big-band renditions of Monk's music you naturally think of Hal Overton's Town Hall charts and/or the subsequent Oliver Nelson date, both made w/Monk himself. And Lacy-Rudd-Cherry-Mengelberg interpretations of course stay in the mind too. The Micros do not cleave to any one of these channels but instead do it their way. That means to say they take twelve of the classics and do something in the spirit of that man and his style. There are some ensemble renditions of solos, some nicely voiced versions of the head-melodies, and there are some things that involve the Micros own eccentricities (which surely complement those of Monk).

There are plenty of nice solos from the principals too. And a bit of outness from that corner that should surprise no one.

It's good music that both Monk and Microscopic Sextet aficionados will appreciate. Monk, good to go!

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