Recent listening, current

Friday, March 1, 2013

47. Thelonious Monk / Solo Monk (1965)

It's Thelonious, plain and simple. Playful, snarky, diabolical. He does tunes that you know, tunes that he knows, and maybe some that only he knows. Certainly, he does them all the way he knows how -- lopsided phrasing, disjointed rhythmical constructions, boulders for punctuation marks, and a philandering left hand that's off doing who-knows-what while the right hand runs away without him. Sometimes they meet up again, and sometimes it takes an indiscriminate forearm full of notes to remind them they belong to the same piece. I used to have a job doing outsourced library cataloging, where I would wear a headset while working. Listening to this CD brought joy to my dismal occupation, which was situated in a dimly lit room without windows or a heater in the middle of winter, and it even brought a smile to my face. I recommend contrasting this with Monk's first solo set, Thelonious Himself, which was recorded for Riverside a few years earlier. This is a much livelier set, whereas on the other, Monk seems almost self consciously quiet and even reserved.

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