◆ ◆ ◆
Nikki Yeoh, composer, jazz pianist and educator
Within the ’90s I used to be watching TV. An inventor was revealing their newest creation: a go well with jacket that would report motion. The intelligent blazer would “keep in mind” the motions and make the “mannequin” involuntarily transfer in the identical approach. My thoughts wandered — what when you may do that with gloves? How wouldn’t it really feel to expertise how Oscar Peterson, Bach or Monk moved throughout the piano? “Trinkle, Tinkle” is the invisible reminiscence glove and nearly the reply to my glove-desiring prayers. So ergonomically written, pianistic in its method. It embodies ballet finesse, angular jazz-tap punchy stabs, a percussive African ancestral message and a portal into Monk’s motion and thoughts.
I really like the two/4 bar on the finish of the A bit. The “further” two beats remind me of when Monk thought the music was “cookin’” and would bounce up and dance, a stumbling, twisty-turning dance like a soccer participant dribbling the ball, with the utmost grace and function, the phrase touchdown being the “objective.” As with many Monk tunes, this piece is finest heard and improvised to, whereas singing the melody. Simply keep in mind to substitute the two/4 bar with a 4/4 bar in solos. Monk sticks carefully to the melody on the unique recording. Joshua Redman’s version on his self-titled album is great, albeit with out piano. In my goals they known as me for that album, however I couldn’t go as my gloves weren’t prepared!
◆ ◆ ◆
Morgan Rhodes, music supervisor
“Let’s Cool One”
Discovering “Let’s Cool One” was an entire love-at-first-listen expertise. Having solely heard “Solo Monk” earlier than listening to this report, my introduction to big-band Thelonious was an awakening. Whereas I’ll all the time admire the intimacy of the live recording on “Misterioso,” there’s one thing so compelling to me concerning the “Monk’s Blues” version. Oliver Nelson’s association takes it to dramatic new ranges. The upbeat tempo makes the tune really feel larger and chic, giving brass each alternative to shine whereas marrying Thelonious’s well-known dissonance with conventional harmonies. The consequence appears like a extremely good dialog between horns and piano — a name and response that holds house for each the avant-garde and the traditional. Monk’s enjoying is masterful on this one.
◆ ◆ ◆
Anna Butterss, musician
“Candy and Pretty”
I really like Monk’s personal compositions, however there’s something thrilling about listening to his interpretations of jazz requirements. Monk tinkers with these songs, reconstructing concord and melody alike till he would possibly as effectively have written them within the first place. “Candy and Pretty” is considered one of these requirements that Monk revisited all through his profession — when he recorded this solo efficiency in 1964, he had been enjoying the tune for over 10 years, and had made some attribute tweaks to the unique. The descending sevenths underlying the melody are traditional Monk, as is his refusal to resolve the ultimate chord to the place we might count on. The lyrics of “Candy and Pretty” (which we don’t hear, right here) communicate of a love with seemingly no issues: “Candy and beautiful, sweeter than the roses in Could, and he loves me, there may be nothing extra I can say.”
In distinction to this tone, Monk creates a extra melancholy vignette. We first hear him play the melody in a lush, nearly stylized, romantic method, leaning into the heat of his left hand, however the heavy descent of the bass line provides an uneasiness to the temper. All through his temporary solo his articulation turns into extra pronounced, till the melody returns in insistent, rolling octaves. Monk’s ending doesn’t fairly appear to wrap issues up neatly — leaving the listener barely unhappy, and maybe holding the door open for him to return to this tune as soon as once more.
◆ ◆ ◆
Mary Halvorson, musician
“Crepuscule With Nellie”
Thelonious Monk was one of many first jazz musicians I listened to (on an album called “The Composer,” within the type of a cassette tape) as a preteen. At first I didn’t perceive it in any respect, and the improvisations had been completely misplaced on me, however someway I stored coming again to that tape. What drew me in initially had been the melodies. There’s a version of “Crepuscule With Nellie” on that album. It’s traditional Monk, immediately identifiable. There’s a lot magnificence and power of melodicism, with rhythmic quirks and whimsy built-in seamlessly, like probably the most pure factor on this planet. You’ll be able to really feel Monk isn’t attempting to do something tough; he’s simply being himself. Beneath the splendidly twisted logic, it’s nonetheless a melody you possibly can sing alongside to. And when you study Monk’s melodies, the improvisations unfold from there and improve every thing.