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:
@Purple Stickpin@Short Bus Thelonious is my favourite, along with Bird and Dizzy Gillespie but much great jazz out there. Thanks for the Monk analysis Purple plus the Benny Golson which I had not heard.
Here's some Ornette Coleman, a little all over the place at times but I like:
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.
cool - had you in mind when i posted it. i saw him in solo performance a long time ago with a friend in toronto and we
smoked a big joint and got so high we had to split - his foot stomping combined with being sardined in with thousands
of people freaked us out and we bailed.