Monk a Half-Century Later


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Tonight and tomorrow night, Town Hall in New York City is observing the fiftieth anniversary of Thelonious Monk's celebrated performance there with a ten-piece band. This evening's concert will present trumpeter Charles Tolliver's big band playing Monk's music. WNYC will broadcast it live at eight o'clock EST. To hear it in the New York area, tune in to 93.9 FM. To hear it on the internet, go here.

Tomorrow night, pianist Jason Moran will lead an eight-piece ensemble in what is being described as a concert and media-collage. Both concerts will use W. Eugene Smith's photographs of Monk and orchestrator Hall Overton as they created medium-size-band arrangements of Monk's compositions. WNYC will record Moran's concert and may broadcast it later.

Yesterday, Moran was in WNYC's studios for the Leonard Lopate Show, discussing and demonstrating the challenges of interpreting Monk. Lopate brought in cameras, resulting in radio with pictures. Moran's sidemen are alto saxophonist Logan Richardson, tenor saxophonist Aaron Stewart, bassist Tarus Mateen and drummer Nasheet Waits.

The recording of Monk's Town Hall concert of February 28, 1959, is a basic repertoire item for any serious listener.

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This story appears courtesy of Rifftides by Doug Ramsey.
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