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Friday The 13th: The Micros Play Monk

Imported ed.

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Originally active from 1980-1992 and reformed with the original personnel since 2006, the "Micros" started with a basic reeds-and-rhythm texture that was sonically similar to the sound of the Swing Era, but used influences from the entire continuum of jazz. The result was a brilliant blend of fresh-sounding orchestration, ideas, compositions and inspired soloing. Their sound is the sound of jazz in America; ALL of it, from Ellington to Ayler, bebop to Zorn, Basie to Lacy. The Microscopic Septet distill the essence of jazz into a sound that swings - a music that is intelligent, sometimes humorous, and always good fun.

For the group's sixth release, they have recorded an album of their unique arrangements of the music of the great American composer Thelonious Monk.

With gorgeous art work by New Yorker artist Barry Blitt and liner notes by long-time Micros fan Peter Keepnews, Friday the 13th is a long overdue party with the master, at which The Micros Play Monk.

Review

"...a wildly idiosyncratic, devastatingly accomplished ensemble." -- Wall Street Journal

"...the Microscopic Septet served notice that they remain one of New York's most distinctive and entertaining groups." -- All About Jazz New York

"Amidst the natty suits and serious prouncements of the 1980s jazz scene, the Microscopic Septet's arrow-through-the-head celebration of the music's history was sorely out of place-unfortunate for the financial prospects of the Micros and the joyless approach taken by too many of their peers....if the musical climate seems more hospitable these days, the somewhat grayer-haired Micros aren't about to let that get in the way of them playing the scrappy underdogs, blithely amusing themselves with a respectful tongue out at their peers.... As always with the Micros, it's gloriously, delightfully and inappropriately right. Welcome back." -- Downbeat

Very few jazz composers have experienced the extremes of acceptance and rejection that were Thelonious Monk's lot. Ignored and rejected early in his career (in part for the oblique weirdness of his piano style, in part for the difficulty and angularity of his compositions, and in part because he was quite clearly mentally ill) he did at least live to see his music given the appreciation it deserved, and his work has only grown in esteem since his death in 1982. Today, his pieces are among the most frequently performed and recorded of any jazz composer; as popularity among musicians goes, his music is on the same level as that of Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. The Microscopic Septet (whom you may have heard playing the theme music to NPR's Fresh Air) has now dedicated an entire album to arrangements of Monk compositions, most of them familiar ones ("Misterioso," "Off Minor," "Epistrophy," etc.). Their arrangements are innovative but respectful: they take "Brilliant Corners" and shuffle its component parts around a little bit; they write some lovely counterpoint around the head on "Friday the 13th"; they give "Gallop's Gallop" a joyfully loose, communitarian treatment that sounds a bit like the second half of a New Orleans funeral. Part of what makes this group's take on these familiar tunes so enjoyable is their willingness to engage with Monk's sense of humor; the "difficulty" of his music is frequently puckish rather than forbidding, and too few musicians recognize that fact or capitalize on it. The group's unusual configuration (four saxophones and a piano trio) makes possible some very interesting timbral juxtapositions, and they make the most of that potential as well. Newcomers to Monk's music should let these arrangements lead them back to the original recordings on Riverside and Blue Note; longtime fans who think they've heard every possible interesting arrangement of these tunes should think again. -- Rick Anderson - All Music Guide

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Product details

  • Audio CD (January 16, 2017)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: January 16, 2017
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CUNEIFORM RECORDS
  • California residents: Click here for Proposition 65 warning.
  • ASIN: B003Y7U8V2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,968 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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