Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Alex Conde, Descarga for Monk

Monk Latin style? Yes, on pianist Alex Conde's Descarga for Monk (Zoho 201501). Well, Latin by means of Spanish duende to be precise. The Valencia-born pianist recruits bassist Jeff Chambers, John Arkin, drums, John Santos, percussion, and on occasion Amparo Conde and Carmen Carrasco on palmas and compas (hand claps and footstomps a la flamenco).

Alex Conde gives us his own innate Spanish tinge, the band jumps right in, and they tackle nine Monk standards in ways that, not surprisingly, show that Monk's melodic and harmonic brilliance can be shaded effectively with contrasting musical forms. Alex does a good bit of improvising that shows his own stylistic sense more so than a direct channeling of Monk, and the band gets a rhythmic flow that is infectious and convincing.

There's "Round Midnight" but also "Ugly Beauty," "Ruby My Fear" but also "Think of One." In short Alex and company tackle the well-known and the somewhat lesser-known with a Spanish-Latin flair that makes for good listening and a good bit of toe-tapping as well.

If Monk rings your bell like he does mine, you will find this another way to hear his music and will appreciate the treatment, I think. And Alex comes across as a talented pianist, too.

A good one!

No comments:

Post a Comment