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Monk's Moods

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Audio CD, September 27, 2002
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Editorial Reviews


"Monk's Moods facinates throughout; it is a very impressive piece of work." -- JazzTimes Magazine, July/August 2001

"Steve Lacy on Monk's 'Hackensack' creates a classic solo that sounds like no one else." -- NPR JAZZ CD REVIEW, Fall 2001

"The festival's climax occurred on Saturday night with a charismatic performance by California drummer Anthony Brown's Asian American Orchestra." -- CHICAGO TRIBUNE, October 26, 1998

"The spectacularly inventive Monk's Moods, recorded last year but newly released, contains a few familiar elements--but only a few." -- Jazziz Magazine, October 2001

"This stunning release successfully weds strong soloists and sensitively crafted arrangements." -- International Association of Jazz Record Collectors,
Fall 2001 (Vol. 34, No. 4)

From the Artist

"If music is a language, then Berkeley percussionist and composer Anthony Brown is probably one of the most articulate men in jazz." SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, February 5, 1999

Under the direction of percussionist, composer and ethnomusicologist Anthony Brown, the Asian American Orchestra has received international critical acclaim for their blending of Asian musical instruments and sensibilities with the sonorities of the jazz orchestra. The Orchestra's previous CD, a reinterpretation of Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn's Far East Suite, received a 2000 Grammy™ nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance. Jazz saxophonist, MacArthur genius grant recipient Steve Lacy, multi-instrumentalist Hong Wang and hammered dulcimer virtuoso Yangqin Zhao joined the Orchestra to record "Monk’s Moods," featuring new interpretations of Thelonious Monk compositions in collaboration with Monk's original producer, Orrin Keepnews.

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1. Monk's Mood
2. Jackie-ing
3. Brilliant Corners
4. Evidence
5. Misterioso
6. Hackensack
7. Crepuscule With Nellie
8. Little Rootie Tootie

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 27, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: September 27, 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Water Baby Records
  • ASIN: B00006LLHC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,716 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jan P. Dennis on January 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
. . . I'll buy it for you--that's how taken I am by it. Of course, I couldn't afford to purchase thousands or hundreds or even scores of copies of this disc for all of you that will be wanting one after you've been pummeled into submission by this overheated, superlative-laden review. But you get the idea.
The opening ehru (two-stringed Chinese viola) passage of "Monk's Mood," the first cut on this gloriously quirky reading of Thelonius Sphere Monk's equally gloriously quirky songs, joined a few measures later by pipa (Chinese dulcimer), mesmerically sets the tone for this astounding record. Is there a more poignant sound in music than the sound of the ehru? Not that I know of. And, eeriely, its odd timbre EXACTLY fits the somber/plaful sensibility of "Monk's Mood." When the full orchestra comes in at the three minute mark, with its faux-lazy playing, sounding like some sort of ur-Ellington band, you know you've been vaulted out of this world into jazz heaven. Melecio Magdaluyo's quietly brilliant alto sax solo, played over striking pipa comping and Mark Izu's slyly swinging acoustic bass, continues what may be one of the most glorious covers in the history of jazz.
"Jackie-ing" continues the vibe with a stark pipa opening topped off by some inspired drum bashes courtesy of Anthony Brown. After a short orchestral passage, Steve Lacy makes his first appearance on soprano saxophone. Besides spinning out a tart, succinct, perfectly porportioned solo, Lacy displays his unique ss tone, which is like no one else's in the history of jazz and which has become THE defining approach to the instrument, proving that he is to the soprano sax what Pharoah Sanders is to the tenor sax--the absolute master of tone and timbre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Lester on October 11, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Para quem aprecia Monk orquestrado, será uma excelente aquisição. Com Anthony Brown (d), Steve Lacy (ss), Melecio Magdaluyo (as), Wayne Wallace (tb), Mark Izu (b) e banda.


1 Monk's Mood 8:40
2 Jackie-Ing 6:18
3 Brilliant Corners 7:11
4 Evidence 2:27
5 Misterioso 6:36
6 Hackensack 5:39
7 Crepuscule With Nellie 5:52
8 Little Rootie Tootie 6:16
9 Friday the 13th 5:42
10 Pannonica 6:03

Foi o amigo JoFlavio, conspícuo membro do dilucidante blog Charuto Jazz, quem veio com a estória de que Thelonious Monk não sabia tocar piano. São dele as seguintes linhas: "Acompanho a carreira do Monk desde o início da década de 60. Não só como pianista, mas principalmente como compositor. Monk chegou a ser considerado um "pianista menor", talvez pela técnica pobre, que até o impossibilitava de tocar em "up tempo" - se comparado, por exemplo, a um Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, etc. Era nítido o esforço dele em tocar. Sim, como consolo, foi criativo harmonicamente. O grande legado de Monk está nos temas que compôs, de certo modo revolucionários para a época. Como pianista, em minha opinião, não fez escola." Ora, ora. Não demorou um minuto, estava desencadeada uma das maiores polêmicas já suscitadas aqui no Jazzseen, alvoroço geral, acusações gratuitas, ataques de hackers, celeuma, cizânia e crise. Convocamos, às pressas, eu e Reinaldo Santos Neves, Reunião Extraordinária do Clube das Terças, onde o sócio André, especialista em Monk, fora convocado a falar. Um silêncio incômodo sentou-se à mesa do Clube, enquanto todos aguardavam aflitos a definitiva sentença.
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Format: Audio CD
AB’s Asian American Orchestra: AB, perc; Steve Lacy, sop sx; Louis Fasman, tpt, flglhrn; Mark Izu, b, Chinese mouth organ; Melecio Magdaluyo, alt & bari sx, clari, cajon; Dave Martell, tbn, tuba; Hafez Modirzadeh, ten sx, clari; Jim Norton, contra alto clari, b clari, bari and sop sx; Wayne Wallace, tbn; Hong Wang, Chinese viola, mouth organ; Francis Wong, ten sx, clari; John Worley, tpt, flglhrn; Yang Qin Zhao, Chinese hammered dulcimer.

Since the death of jazz great Thelonious Monk in 1982, enough tribute albums have been released to make listening to them almost a full-time job. It says something about the exceptional quality of Monk’s compositions that even the least Monkish of them --Peter Bernstein’s 2009 Monk, for instance—is musical, interesting and extremely well played. Monk was a Bear.

This 2000 release, by Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra, is one of the best of the homages to Monk, among big (well, mid-sized) band releases, matched only by the Bill Holman Band’s 1997 release, Brilliant Corners. The comparison to Holman’s album is a helpful one because both albums have some of the same excellences –exciting charts, great section work, first rate soloists—but Holman’s and Brown’s (or his confreres’) approach to the music is quite different. How so? Holman, a masterful arranger, the best and most original around at the time, radically transformed many of Monk’s tunes, using the skeleton of them to create virtually new pieces. No one listening to Holman’s renditions would confuse them with Monk’s versions, although I suspect Monk would have been flattered with what Holman did with them.

The approach on this album is much closer to the original structure of the tunes.
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