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Old 07-04-2009, 09:51 AM   #21 (permalink)
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i really love Jazz it not boring ^-^
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Old 07-05-2009, 07:08 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Theonious Monk was the best jazz music composer ever and also the epitome of coolness. I love the way Monk playfully used sharps and flats in all of his piano playing and makes abrupt changes in tempo, often three or four times in the same song. Monk's deconstructive approach to jazz was and is still a revolutionary approach to music. He was the bridge between the bop era and the free jazz era. All of the adventurous players like Mingus, Miles, Ornette and Coltrane all took all of their cues from what Monk was doing with his music.

Monk had a small body of work but nearly every song he wrote was flawless jewel of musical perfection. His piano playing was completely intuitive and defied all the rules of conventional musicianship. Monk was completely unschooled in musical theory and maybe that's why his playing is so originial.

Notice how Monk was never afraid to pound away at the piano like it was a percussion instrument And the piano is technically a percussion instrument because striking the keyboard causes the hammers (or mallets) to fly up and strike the finely tuned strings within the soundboard of the piano. Monk left a lot of space in his rhythmic solos and had an unusual technique, many people thought that he was an inferior pianist. Monk was a minimalist in an era where pianists were expected to showcase their technical prowress with displays of their virtuosity. Monk played only as much as required to express the body and soul of the song. He never played a wasted note.

Monk was acutally a brilliant pianist. Early on, Monk was criticized by observers who failed to listen to his music on its own terms, suffered through a decade of neglect before he was suddenly acclaimed as a genius; his music had not changed one bit in the interim. In fact, one of the more remarkable aspects of Monk's music was that it was fully formed by 1947 and he saw no need to alter his playing or compositional style in the slightest during the next 25 years.


Round About Midnight was written by Monk in the Fifties and became a standard jamming tune for jazz musicans in smoke filled bars from Paris to New York during the Beat era.



Monk was a man of few words and he spoke almost exclusively in the language of music and as you can see from the studio video I've posted below. The record company executives appear to be in dire need of a translator to understand the Monk's free association style of talking.

What a cool cat. He epitomized the style of the bebop era.

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Old 07-05-2009, 01:46 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Monk was brilliant, an amazing pianist, and a solid composer. Giving him the title of best Jazz composer ever is a bit of a stretch though. I would save that honor for Charles Mingus definitely who had a penchant for writing fugues for jazz ensembles. How crazy is that?
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Old 07-05-2009, 03:34 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Monk was brilliant, an amazing pianist, and a solid composer. Giving him the title of best Jazz composer ever is a bit of a stretch though. I would save that honor for Charles Mingus definitely who had a penchant for writing fugues for jazz ensembles. How crazy is that?
Mingus was brilliant and in the same class as Monk as a jazz composer. Mingus was far more prolific than Monk and more of Mingus' music is hit and miss because Mingus's ideas about composition were so complex, he had problems getting his players to play the music the manner he wanted them to play.

I think more of Monk's songs have become real book jazz standards than Mingus because they're improv friendly. For non-jazz musicians: the real book is a thick book (usually xeroxed) of pirated sheet music and arrangements of jazz standards that is sold hand to hand, usually by jazz musicians. Some music stores sell the real book under the counter.

The real book is a kind of Bible for every jouneyman jazz musician and the arrangements are frequently used a musical platform in jam sessions.

A lot of Mingus' arrangements and themes were too tight to improvise around but Monk's themes were so elegant, simple and easy to do variations on.

It all depends on the type of jazz you like. Mingus wrote for big band type ensembles and was known to thrown tantrums if his players got adventurous with his arrangements. That sort of jazz is really comparable to classical music and Mingus was the equal of Debussy or Stravinsky at that kind of music composition.

On the other hand, Monk wrote for solo piano, quartets and quintets and gave the musicians quite a lot of musical space to jam. In that sense Monk was firmly rooted in improvisational jazz of bop. Each man was a different side of the same musical coin.

I never heard Monk play any of his songs the same way twice but he never fail to play them well, and seldom had an off night as a stage performer. Mingus was more of a temperamental perfectionist who was known to walk off the stage or even punch his sidemen if the sound wasn't exactly right.
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Old 07-05-2009, 04:01 PM   #25 (permalink)
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I guess my hang up is with the title "composer" it connotes a sense of rigid multi-part arrangement that isn't often seen in the world of jazz, with the exception of big band ensembles, which tend to rely considerably less on improvisation than most other styles of jazz.
As far as melodic composition I would have to agree with you. There is a certain paradox in Monk's composition's in that he often stretched the boundaries of time and syncopation in his actual performance of his own material, yet the core melodies were very "user friendly" for other musicians to work around.
Let's not forget that while Mingus was known to become frustrated with the musicians he worked with, the case with Monk was quite the opposite, as he himself would frustrate his musicians by deliberately throwing off their sense of timing while staying completely within the meter of the song. It was almost a game for him.
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Old 07-09-2009, 03:25 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Some jazz for you to chew on

"A Love Supreme"-John Coltrane; Both "Live-Evil" and "Bitches Brew" by Miles Davis; and the "Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall"....thos are definitely classics. Also, check out some of Nels Cline's albums...."The Giant Pin" in particular. He's a huge leap from Coltrane, but it should definitely be a great lesson in just how crazy jazz can get. "Bitches Brew" should definitely be a similar experience.

Hope that helps....
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:37 AM   #27 (permalink)
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My favorite jazz album is either 'Saxophone Colossus' by Sonny Rollins, or 'My Favorite Things', by John Coltrane. Really, though, I don't think one could go wrong with anything by either artist. Sidney Bechet is also excellent.
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Old 07-10-2009, 11:42 AM   #28 (permalink)
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My favorite jazz album is either 'Saxophone Colossus' by Sonny Rollins, or 'My Favorite Things', by John Coltrane. Really, though, I don't think one could go wrong with anything by either artist. Sidney Bechet is also excellent.
Three fantastic great recommendations. It's definitely not everyday that you hear people speak of Sidney Bechet. You must know your stuff.
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Old 07-15-2009, 08:56 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:15 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Well, I'll go with Round About Midnight I guess, esp if you include the two disc bonus edition that includes a complete live set with the sextet, plus the original live version of Miles playing Round Midnight with Monk at Newport a few years earlier.
I can't really pick one from the first great quintet as *the* one, and I like me some Cannonball added in too (check out Two Bass Hit, man).

Last edited by half drag; 07-15-2009 at 09:18 PM. Reason: speeling
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