09 May 2010

Thelonious Monk - Solo Monk (1964)

So i've been listening to a lot of Thelonious Monk recently. Honestly, a lot of jazz really puts me off cause a lot of it tends to be really overproduced or just dull. Also, i FUCKING HATE SAXOPHONES. No offense to anyone who likes or plays saxophone, but they are my least favourite instrument of all time. They just suck and sound awful. And lots of jazz is loaded with saxophones.

Jazz piano is where it's at. As soon as i listened to this album i could immediately see the tremendous influence it had on Tom Waits' (my favourite musician of all time) piano playing. Particularly that of Nighthawks at the Diner, The Heart of Saturday Night, and Small Change. In fact, i just discovered now that this album is Tom Waits' second favourite album of all time. I was also pleased to see Murderous Home on that list.
Monk said 'There is no wrong note, it has to do with how you resolve it'. He almost sounded like a kid taking piano lessons. I could relate to that when I first started playing the piano, because he was decomposing the music while he was playing it. It was like demystifying the sound, because there is a certain veneer to jazz and to any music, after a while it gets traffic rules, and the music takes a backseat to the rules. It's like aerial photography, telling you that this is how we do it. That happens in folk music too. Try playing with a bluegrass group and introducing new ideas. Forget about it. They look at you like you're a communist. On Solo Monk, he appears to be composing as he plays, extending intervals, voicing chords with impossible clusters of notes. 'I Should Care' kills me, a communion wine with a twist. Stride, church, jump rope, Bartok, melodies scratched into the plaster with a knife. A bold iconoclast. Solo Monk lets you not only see these melodies without clothes, but without skin. This is astronaut music from Bedlam.
- Tom Waits

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