Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Thelonious Monk: Epistrophy, 1980
My introduction to the jazz aesthetic was Misterioso, one of Monk's live albums recorded during sessions at New York's Five Spot in the 50's. Very few albums have had as great an effect on my music appreciation as that one, and it continues to touch me in a way that few albums can. Misterioso will always be my favorite, but I love how Monk's other recordings document the way that he continued to modify his compositions and sound over the course of his career. In addition to his contribution to the jazz sound itself, Monk also became a masterful exponent of the jazz practice of producing infinite variations on musical themes.
This recording captures a Paris appearance by Monk's quartet in 1970. Monk gives every note a lot of weight by playing with a rare sparseness, especially on Sweet and Lovely, which takes up the entire A side. Every member of the band leaves plenty of room for the others, giving the performance a more delicate quality than other Monk recordings. I know nothing about Affinity, the Spanish label that released this album first, but the recording was made by BYG people and the sound quality is very clear. Personally, I would go so far as to rank this album among Monk's classic recordings, but that distinction is usually reserved for major label releases.
Crepescule with Nellie by Easy Jams