Sunday, 10/10/10

by musicclipoftheday

Albertina Walker, October 29, 1929-October 8, 2010

“I Can Go To God In Prayer” (joined, at the end, by Patti LaBelle), live, Chicago, 1991

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“Please Be Patient With Me” (with James Cleveland), live, Chicago, 1979

This track, which I first encountered 30 years ago, I never tire of hearing.

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“Lord Keep Me Day By Day,” live (James Cleveland’s funeral), Los Angeles, 1991

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lagniappe

Somebody gonna leave here feeling a little better than they did when they came in . . .

—Albertina Walker

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Happy Birthday, Monk!

In celebration of the birthday of Thelonious Monk (October 10, 1917-February 17 1982), WKCR-FM is playing his music all day—and we’re replaying some clips.

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Here is the onliest Thelonious.

Thelonious Monk, “Epistrophy,” live (TV broadcast), Paris, 1966

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Thelonoius Monk, “’Round Midnight,” live (TV broadcast)

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You can tell a lot about Monk’s music—about the centrality of dance, about the interplay between melody and rhythm, about the way a melody’s irregular accents override the pulse (making the dance melodic)—just by watching, in the second performance, the way his right foot moves.

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lagniappe

He played each note as though astonished by the previous one, as though every touch of his fingers on the keyboard was correcting an error and this touch in turn became an error to be corrected and so the tune never quite ended up the way it was meant to be.

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You had to see Monk to hear his music properly. The most important instrument in the group—whatever the format—was his body.

—Geoff Dyer, But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz (1996)

(Originally posted 11/2/09.)

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Yeah, the format might seem a little strange: soprano saxophone, unaccompanied. But Monk’s musical language—its tangy mix of geometric elegance and off-kilter bluesiness—is rarely spoken this eloquently.

Sam Newsome, Thelonious Monk Medley, live, 2008

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lagniappe

The clarity and logic of his [Thelonious Monk’s] work might have been compared with the craft of an architect. Each phrase, each fragment, each plump chord had its exact place in his musicial structure.—Mimi Clar (in Robin D. G. Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original [2009])

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‘All jazz musicians are mathematicians unconsciously’ was a favorite theory of Monk’s.—Randy Weston (in Deborah Kapchan, Traveling Spirit Masters: Moroccan Gnawa Trance and Music in the Global Marketplace [2007])

(Originally posted 11/25/09.)

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genius at work

Thelonious Monk with saxophonist Charlie Rouse, working out a number, “Boo Boo’s Birthday,” during a recording session, 1967

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Thelonious Monk (with Charlie Rouse, tenor saxophone; Ben Riley, drums; Larry Gales, bass), “Boo Boo’s Birthday” (Underground [Columbia], 1968)

(Originally posted 12/28/09.)

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What did it sound like when Beethoven, seated at the piano, played Bach? For that we have to use our imagination. For this we don’t.

Thelonious Monk plays Duke Ellington, live, Berlin, 1969

“Satin Doll”

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“Sophisticated Lady”

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“Caravan”

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“Solitude”

(Yo, Michael: Thanks for the tip!)

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lagniappe

[T]he only time I’ve ever seen Monk act like a little boy and looking up to somebody [was in the presence of Duke Ellington]. That was his idol.—Joe Termini (quoted in Robin D. G. Kelley, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original [2009])

(Originally posted 1/13/10.)