Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monk's Casino, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Intakt

I have to think Thelonious Monk would have been pleased by this rendering of his entire compositional output by pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach in an unusual group with a trumpet and bass clarinet added to the standard piano trio.

You can't fail to recognize the oft-played songs (say, "Ruby My Dear" or "In Walked Bud") if you're familiar with Monk, but the group, as might be expected from one led by von Schlippenbach, often puts its own spin on the music.

If the places where the avant-garde touches are pretty heavy don't sound too out of place, that's because Monk himself wasn't ever very far from the edge, if not a little over it, in his music. These three CDs can't help but deepen an appreciation for his genius. I get giddy when I listen to them.

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