Saturday, September 19, 2015

Straight Horning: Only Monk - More Monk

Thelonious MonkOver the last few weeks a couple of Soul Note releases from Steve Lacy - Only Monk and More Monk (from 1985 & 1989 respectively) - have been getting plenty of airtime around the apartment. I've been working on a few of Monk's melodies and aside of Thelonious' recordings (including Brilliant Corners, Monk Alone, Monk's Dream, and selected Blue Note tracks) my next point of call were these two solo albums from Lacy (followed by a few others such as We See and Reflections).

Thelonious MonkAnyone interested in Monk's music needs to check out Lacy's truly personal approach to this music. For me, Lacy boils things down to the essentials. Not that his playing is minimalist, but there is a stripped-back quality to Lacy's music that appeals to me. Notes never go to waste as he dives deep into the tune. He never seems in a hurry and the improvisations unfold in surprising ways, yet naturally - not forced. For those not familiar with his own compositions, this may be more evident when he plays Monk tunes (perhaps even more so on these solo recordings).

It's hard to play favourites with these two equally solid albums. If you can only go for one, just pick the album with the tunes you prefer.

I would love to hear Eronel from 1979, which I think is Lacy's first solo album to feature an all-Monk playlist. My fingers are crossed for a re-issue to appear.

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