Saturday, December 19, 2020

Jazz | Pint | Monk Plays Ellington

Houblon Chouffe

I was listening to Pablo Held's interview with Ben Street earlier today (be sure check out Held's other interview too - great series), and had bass players on my mind when it came to tonight's listening. I didn't have anything in mind, but when I spotted the Monk set in the pile, the Oscar Pettiford/Kenny Clarke pairing was the first thing that came to mind. And here were are. Of Monk's discs on Riverside, it was be a toss up between Monk Plays Ellington and Brilliant Corners as to the album I've listened to the most. It just so happens that Pettiford is on both. (Thelonious Himself would more than likely be third if you're wondering). Pettiford and Clarke have such a great flow - it sounds effortless. As the bass was on my mind, I tended to focus in that direction tonight. Such clarity in his lines and his tone. Tonight, the brief moments when his walking lines moved into the higher register seemed to pop out at me. And the buoyancy of "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good" really appeals to me. And the 3.57-4.10 mark during O.P's solo on "Caravan" always sticks out to me. Kenny Clarke is very understated throughout - in the best way possible. Economy of swing at its finest. Fantastic brush playing. Actually, he spends the vast majority of the album on brushes. The sticks aren't missed at all (they make a brief appearance on "Caravan"). Super tasty. Of course it's not just O.P and Klook grooving - Monk plays his part too!

The Houblon is not by favourite of the Chouffe beers, but it made a change and I hadn't had one in ages (actually it was my first Chouffe since moving home). Maybe not a great match with the music, but it really didn't matter.

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