Recent listening, current

Saturday, April 27, 2013

94. Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (2005)

Considering the complexity of Monk's style and the assertive individuality of Coltrane's style on the tenor, this music isn't just blazingly good, it's also surprisingly cohesive, at least to me. Rediscovered 2005 at the Library of Congress, it sheds invaluable light on the fabled partnership between Monk and Coltrane. Monk is so energetic, he's jumping all over the keyboard like popcorn, supported by a really intuitive drummer in Shadow Wilson.  Sometimes Coltrane lays out for long section while Monk sketches the melody or takes a chorus. But when Coltrane steps back in, Monk comes alive in give-and-take interplay that surges the whole group ahead. Coltrane isn't giving us a smattering of scalar flights of fancy. He's carefully picking and choosing his spots as an ensemble player and featured soloist. It' so much more mature than the music previously available from this union, and kudos to all involved for bringing it out in the open. It makes me wonder what else is hidden in the Library of Congress?

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