Sunday, Sep. 07, 2008

The Music of Thelonious Monk

In a concert at Manhattan's Town Hall a half-century ago, off-the-wall jazz genius Thelonious Monk ventured into new territory — something of a habit with him — by fronting a big band instead of his usual small ensembles. Commemorating that departure, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, with pianist Marcus Roberts channeling Monk, will reprise the 1959 charts and add newer ones in "The Music of Thelonious Monk." In coinciding JALC events, Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez and his trio will bring Afro-Cuban and folkloric accents to Monk tunes (as in Pérez's 1996 album Panamonk), and a free-blowing combo under tenor man Eric Alexander will play "Mostly Monk." In all, as Monk might've put it, a big gulp of his music, straight no chaser.