Vinyl Vlog 199

Vinyl Vlog 199

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Thursday, 26 January 2017
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Albums like these are both exciting and scary to review at the same time. Exciting because I love Thelonious Monk. Seriously, I don’t know much (or anything really) about jazz, but I do know that nothing sticks to me quite like his music. It’s scary to review an album like this exactly because I am NOT a jazz guy. I guess you could say I’m a punk. I prefer drums, bass, guitar, and vocals. I just don’t have the ear for professional music and I surely don’t understand which notes these musicians AREN’T playing. Maybe that’s the point: I don’t normally listen to music played by musicians. So what business do I have reviewing Monk: Big Band Quartet in Concert? Well, because I love Thelonious Monk and I want you to listen to his music.

 

Monk: Big Band Quartet in Concert finds the first return of the Monk orchestra in 4 years, with brand new member. At this Philharmonic Hall performance, Monk led a 10-piece orchestra, then a quarter, and then a 10-piece again. This rendition of the orchestra has more of an emphasis on clarinets and saxophone and finds the arranger Hall Overton translating Monk’s sound to a larger broader sound with more elements.

 

As my first live jazz album (I know — bare with me), at first listen I was pleased to notice that sonically, it’s every bit as good as any of Monk’s studio albums I’ve heard. Makes sense, because these old jazz records were recorded live and the microphone placement for this record highlight each instrument perfectly, just like it would in the studio. What I was also amused by was the constant applause by the audience. Just like a talk show audience these days, any comment by the host or guest that remotely sounds like pandering gets a rousing applause from the audience. You can predict it every time. Here, every time a band member gets a solo (and there are many), the audience applauds.

 

Org Music has now reissued this record on double 180 gram LP, in a single record sleeve with original artwork and liner notes in the back. Simple and to the point.

 

If you look around the internet, you’ll find that Monk: Big Band Quartet in Concert is considered one of Monk’s greatest recordings and essential jazz listening. I wouldn’t know about that. I do know, however, that it’s damn fine listening.

 
Get your copy from Org themselves!

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