John Beasley – MONK’estra, vol. 2 2017: Free regular download

- in NEW CD's: Free download

Thirty-five years after his death – and a good 70 since the high-water mark of the bebop he helped to invent – the music of Thelonious Monk continues to resonate with contemporary musicians.

Each new generation seems to find its own reflection in Monk’s eccentric, defiantly original melodies, and tunes like “Evidence” and “I Mean You” sound as fresh and strange as they always did.
Here’ a second salvo from top LA composer and arranger John Beasley and his 15-piece MONK’estra – with guest appearances from violinist Regina Carter, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and a scorching opening rap from trumpeter Dontae Winslow. Like last year’s much-admired Vol 1, it strikes a perfect balance between the character of the originals and the spirit of our times.

The album represents not only a franchise sequel but also an expansion of Beasley’s mission with the project. “You start thinking of Thelonious and his era, of what it took just to be a jazz musician during that time,” he mused, in a press statement. “I wanted to push the story out there that maybe some jazz fans had forgotten about.”

That impulse finds traction right out of the gate, on a version of “Brake’s Sake” with some socially charged rapping by trumpeter Dontae Winslow. (“We went from Prohibition to heroin addiction / From lynching to life in prison…”)

With MONK’estra, Vol. 2, Beasley also welcomes a handful of marquee guest soloists, like violinist Regina Carter (on “Crepuscule with Nellie”), percussionist Pedrido Martínez (“Criss Cross”) and singer Dianne Reeves (“Dear Ruby,” a reinvention of “Ruby, My Dear”). An exuberant arrangement of “Evidence” features two swing-for-the-fences solos, by the questing tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington and the erudite trombonist Conrad Herwig.

Free regular download

Spread the love

Facebook Comments