Impressive reinterpretation of Monk
DJ Outro | Austin, TX | 04/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A few years ago, three talented Berkeley-based jazz musicians decided to form a band in which they would play only Thelonious Monk compositions. It was an odd choice, in a way, since Monk is a famous pianist and composed for the piano, but the "Plays Monk" trio is made of drums, bass, and a clarinet. Still, it works. The clarinetist (Ben Goldberg) floats over the drums and bass with the same frenzied or laid-back feels that characterized Monk's own variegated style. The bassist (Devin Hoff) supports the melody and carries a number of thoughtful solos across the album. The drummer (Scott Amendola) keeps the beats changing and pushes on the rest of the trio. I realized that my favorite tracks are all tunes that I recognized (Reflections (tk 4), Four In One (tk 8), and Teo (tk 10)) but every track on this album is a clever construction and each is an enjoyable listen."