Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
78

Jimmy Owens - The Monk Project (2012)

SOURCE:

Sign in to view read count
Jimmy Owens
I was struck, time and again, by the considered, almost slow-motion attention to detail here, as trumpeter Jimmy Owens and Co. tease out every blues-soaked nuance from the oft-heard music of Thelonious Monk.

It's easy to focus on the brilliant convolutions of his music, the blind-alley syncopations and the turbulent chord changes. But there was real grit, and no small amount of beauty, to the tortured pianist's work—something that The Monk Project brilliantly underscores.

Owens downshifts the familiar boppish standard “Well You Needn't" into a drawling reverie, performing alone on flugelhorn with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Kenny Davis and drummer Winard Harper. Joined by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and the rest of his talented sidemen, Owens and Co. transform “Blue Monk" with a boozy cadence straight out of a New Orleans sidestreet parade—made complete by Owens' squalling lines, a Ellingtonian growl from Gordon's trombone, and the band's winking quote of the old standard “Frankie and Johnny." “Pannonica" slows to an almost crepuscular gait, taking on the romantic shadows of late sunset. “Brilliant Corners" becomes a showcase for Harper and Barron, who provide a soul-soaked foundation of shuffling swing.

Not that the The Monk Project doesn't swing; in fact, it does so from the first—as Owens charges into Monk's rhythmic reworking of “Sweet Georgia Brown," which he called “Bright Mississippi." The trumpeter's propulsive work here provides a terrific foil for saxophonist Marcus Strickland, a Roy Haynes alum. Later, the group adds an angular complexity to “Stuffy Turkey," then burns through a piano-focused take on the classic “Epistrophy." Tuba player Howard Johnson is featured on a harumphing journey through “It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)."

But the album, for me, finds its most striking immediacy when this group digs deepest into the blues underpinnings of Monk's work, something that's not explored often enough.

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of Something Else!.
Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.

CD/LP/Track Review
New York Beat
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Monk Project
The Monk Project
IPO Recordings
2012
buy
The Monk Project
The Monk Project
IPO Recordings
2011
buy
Peaceful Walking
Peaceful Walking
Jay-Oh Jazz
2007
buy
[no cover]
Headin' Home
HighNote
1978
buy
[no cover]
Jimmy Owens
HighNote
1976
buy
[no cover]
Caravan
HighNote
1976
buy
Miles Davis Miles Davis
trumpet
Charlie Parker Charlie Parker
sax, alto
Dizzy Gillespie Dizzy Gillespie
trumpet
Freddie Hubbard Freddie Hubbard
trumpet
Art Farmer Art Farmer
flugelhorn
Hank Crawford Hank Crawford
sax, alto
Woody Shaw Woody Shaw
trumpet
Donald Byrd Donald Byrd
trumpet
Carlos Garnett Carlos Garnett
sax, tenor

Shop

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.