All That Jazz (1 Viewer)

I'm reading the LIfe and Times OF Thelonious Monk. I got it for 25 cents in the discard bin of our library. It's a well researched and written book. I always knew about him but never listened to him much. I try to put him on while reading-which is fine since its 450 pages long. I like what he does even though I can't tell you what he's doing.
As Monk's style evolved, he was very aligned with dissonant harmony and applying it however the moment suited him (or his band). There's a video out there called Straight, No Chaser or something completely different than that and there's a scene of him and his long-time Tenor player, Charlie Rouse, discussing a passage. Rouse asks about a particular chord and wants to know if Monk is looking for a b9, a #9 or a natural 9 over it, and Monk's response is basically, any one 'em, it doesn't matter. To a pure theorist, this does not compute. To Monk, it represents both freedom and the ability to take a chance and see what works. Jazz is the sound of surprise, as Whitney Balliett once penned (although no doubt this quote has been attributed to Bukowski somewhere on the Internet).

Here's an example. Note Monk's "flat hand" technique, which would drive most piano players nuts; it allows for more easily-embedded dissonant chord clusters (some of which are likely a bit on the random side).

Here's a Benny Golson composition that's caught my ear lately:

Has anybody heard of an album called 'The Hunt', I think it's called? I read a review about it in 'Beat Scene' some years back?

this one?

That was fantastically brilliant. Talk about knowing the stylistic history of your craft inside and out. While we're on Peterson, here's a 1977 performance at Montreux with Ray Brown and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen.

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I got this Pepper at the Vanguard box a year or two ago, and this is one of the top performances. Pepper rips things along at a very up tempo and even ventures a toe in the water of free jazz here and there in his first solo. The rhythm section of George Cables, George Mraz and Elvin Jones is hard to beat (read that as spectacular) and this was only the second night that all four musicians had played together (jazz is kinda like that; learn your shit and lay it down well and you'll get gigs):


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