Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Memories of Thelonious Sphere Monk
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Seth Howard | Seattle, WA USA | 12/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While this album might not be considered on par with Jackson's earlier work with the Modern Jazz Quartet, but that doesn't mean that it's not worth picking up. While other late '70s/early '80s efforts by Jackson, Alexander, Roker, and Brown lean towards more straight blues-based material, this album showcases Jackson and company performing several compositions by the (then) recently departed Thelonious Monk live in a London club. Monk's music is very demanding, but Jackson (a former Monk sideman) and is his band are more than up to the task, and their fresh and spontaneous readings of Monk's compositions are definitely the highlights of this disc. Ray Brown's brilliant bowed solo take (with tasteful accompaniment by Monty Alexander) on "Round Midnight" is the hands-down highlight. His slow, emotional rendering of this tune is a revelation. The band also shines on a slower rendition of "Blue Monk", and displays uncanny rhythmic confidence with "Straight, No Chaser". Their joyful version "In Walked Bud" is also great fun. Unfortunately, the rest of the material on this disc is not quite on par with the Monk tunes. While the version of "Django" on this disc is quite respectable, it lacks freshness and spontaneity - not surprising considering that Jackson had probably played this tune thousands of times at the time of this recording. "Think Positive" is a good example of Jackson's later soul-jazz, and the straight blues "Blues for Groundhog" is well played but otherwise unremarkable. Nevertheless, these three songs do seem to provide a good representation of Jackson's live set during this era. If you're a Monk fan (and you should be!), and enjoy Milt Jackson's take on the blues, you really can't go wrong with this recording, despite its minor shortcomings. The sound quality is truly excellent for a live club recording, and Jackson and his band are on top of their game - even if they're a little bit too on top of it at times."