Saturday, December 11, 2010

Great Jazz Albums (IMO) #11

Thelonious Monk, Thelonious Monk Plays The Music of Duke Ellington (1955).  Thelonious Monk is considered "one of the giants of American Music."  His music has been described as some of the "most original and challenging music of the 20th century. Whether it's his dissonant chords or his uncanny sense of space and syncopation, pianist and composer [his] sound is easily recognizable."  I love so many of his albums, particularly those on the Riverside label (1955-1961).  Monk was a remarkable composer and many of his compositions have become jazz standards, but here I chose a cover album of Ellington tunes, which was his first record on Riverside.  These are all pretty familiar Ellington classics played in Monk's unique style, with Oscar Pettiford on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums.  This is a totally accessible but it never gets old.  As one reviewer put it, "Monk not only delivers an unadulterated homage to Ellington, he somehow manages to make the master sound even more ahead of his time than he already was."    [Related posts:  Really Great Jazz Albums,  #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10]


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