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Music  >>  CDs  >>  Jazz

Alex Conde

Descarga For Monk

Alex Conde Descarga For Monk
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The singular music of jazz legend Thelonious Monk has been interpreted by countless players over the years. Great jazz pianists like Bud Powell, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Randy Weston, Barry Harris, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea have dealt with his unorthodox dissonances, angular melodic twists, percussive attack and dramatic use of silences and hesitations. Saxophonists from Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane to Steve Lacy and Anthony Braxton and trumpeters from Miles Davis and Chet Baker to Woody Shaw and Wallace Roney have covered Monk’s music. Others like salsa king Tito Puente and trumpeter-conguero Jerry Gonzalez and his Fort Apache Band have interpreted Monk’s idiosyncratic rhythms through their own Afro-Cuban prism while the great Andalusian pianist Chano Dominguez has offered a passionate flamenco spin on Monk. What is it about Monk's music that makes it so 'ripe' for interpretation' “It’s because he’s so hip in so many ways!,” says the Valencia-born pianist-composer and current Bay Area resident Alex Conde. “I can’t imagine a more hip jazz pianist than Monk. And has there ever been a hipper composer in the history of jazz' While his colleagues were playing at such a speed in the era of bebop, thousands of notes, he came along with such a unique tone, a cluster approach. Bang! Keeping a hot, alive swing feel was his goal. How can anybody resist or not feel attracted to such energy' I couldn’t keep myself away from his infectious style and compositions.” On Descarga for Monk, his ZOHO Music debut (and third recording as a leader overall), the gifted 33-year-old pianist-composer and Chano Dominguez protege has his way with the high priest of bop in an adventurous all-Monk program that is teaming with the spirit of Spanish duende. Accompanied by the Bay Area rhythm tandem of bassist Jeff Chambers and drummer Jon Arkin, and featuring special guest percussion master John Santos, Conde draws on his own personal experiences in the rich flamenco tradition to craft a stirring set of music that pays tribute to Monk while taking great liberties with the familiar themes and rhythms of such staples as Bemsha Swing, Evidence, Monk’s Dream and others. From his fiery buleria interpretation of Played Twice to his clave-fueled Catalan rumba rendition of Thelonious, as well as dramatic solo piano extrapolations on Monk’s hauntingly beautiful ballads Pannonica and ‘Round Midnight, this flamenco flavored take on Monk is as inventive as it is invigorating. The son of famed flamenco singer Alejandro Conde Sr., a superstar in the Cancion Española style, Alex reinvents Monk’s music with his remarkably flexible, highly interactive rhythm tandem of Chambers and Arkin while also showcasing his impeccable technique, remarkable chops and fertile imagination along the way. -- Bill Milkowski

TRACK LISTING:
1. Played Twice
2. Thelonious
3. Think of One
4. Ugly Beauty
5. 'Round Midnight
6. Monk's Dream Th. Monk
7. Evidence Th. Monk
8. Ruby My Dear
9. Pannonica
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