If you have wondered how those concerts turned out that celebrated the 50th anniversary of Thelonious Monk’s Town Hall concert, Will Friedwald reported on them for The Wall Street Journal. As we mentioned last week in this Rifftides post, the bands were led by Charles Tolliver and Jason Moran. Here’s an excerpt from Friedwald’s review of the events.
The first night, Mr. Tolliver and his musicians reveled in the duality of Monk’s music — his basic themes are so simple that an amateur can easily pound one out on the piano, but to capture the nuances and the subtleties of his compositions takes a lifetime of study, even for the current generation of players who grew up on Monk’s tunes and studied them formally in music school.
On Thursday night, Mr. Tolliver and his men got those nuances almost exactly right. Starting, as the original concert did, with solo, trio and quartet pieces, pianist Stanley Cowell captured Monk’s spirit without mimicking every little dynamic of every little note.
To read the whole thing, go here.