ghost of miles

Frank Kimbrough Plays The Complete Thelonious Monk

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A six-CD set coming from Sunnyside later this autumn--here's the email I just received:

I'm very excited to be working with pianist Frank Kimbrough on Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk, a six-CD boxed set of the entire Monk repertoire, to be released November 23 via Sunnyside.

The album features Kimbrough with bassist Rufus Reid, drummer Billy Drummond and multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson.

They celebrate the albums on Nov. 27 & 28 at The Jazz Standard in NYC.

The recordings came about because, at their October 2017 performance, Kimbrough's friend Mait Jones urged that the group record Monk's entire oeuvre. A jazz fan and co-presenter of his own Princeton series JazzNights, Jones brought in his friend and fellow jazz head, Dr. Dorothy Lieberman, to help co-produce the effort.

The recordings form a fantastically diverse collection. On the set Monk's compositions are played in various configurations, most by the quartet, but others in smaller combinations, even solo piano.

Highlights of the group's takes on these classic pieces include Robinson's juggling of trumpet and tenor sax on "Thelonious" and the ensemble's free-wheeling energy on "Skippy." "Locomotive" is the picture of peaceful beauty, whereas "Jackie-ing" is all jumps and starts. Reid and Robinson play beautifully on "Reflections" and a lovely solo performance of  "Crepuscule with Nellie" showcases Kimbrough's command of the piano and Monk's language.

The package also includes beautifully penned liner notes from Nate Chinen (New York Times, WBGO and NPR) along with notes from members of the ensemble and the producers of the album.

I'll have downloads soon, but just wanted to make sure you knew about this project. A press release is below.

All the best,
Ann Braithwaite
Office: 781-259-9600
Text: 781-367-9760

Frank Kimbrough Quartet
Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk

  
A six-disc boxed set of the entire Thelonious Monk repertoire by a quartet led by pianist Frank Kimbrough will be released November 23, 2018!
 
A celebration of this release will be held Nov. 27th and 28th at the Jazz Standard in New York City!
© Marielle Solan
The genius of pianist and composer Thelonious Monk is unassailable. Since his death in 1982, he has become recognized as one of the greatest composers of jazz – and of the wider world of music. The year 2017 was the centennial of Monk’s birth, and brought scores of tributes, including a well-received stay of pianist Frank Kimbrough’s quartet at the Jazz Standard club in New York City.
 
Like many jazz pianists, Kimbrough found Monk’s music a revelation when he first heard it. From the outset of his career, Kimbrough has returned time and again to Monk’s compositions. After nearly four decades of study, reflection, and performance, Kimbrough has established a relationship with these pieces and found a way to express himself through the prism of Monk.
 
When the Standard approached Kimbrough to put together a quartet to play Monk’s music, he picked the brilliant rhythm section of bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Billy Drummond. His choice for lead horn voice was the multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson, with whom he has played for many years and in many combinations, most notably with the Maria Schneider Orchestra.
 
After the first set of the October 17th, 2017 performance at the Standard Kimbrough’s friend Mait Jones urged that the group record Monk’s entire oeuvre, a feat that Kimbrough had never considered. A jazz fan and co-presenter of his own Princeton series JazzNights Jones began a lifelong appreciation of Monk when he heard the master live at the Five Spot in New York City in 1957 .
 
Over the next few days, Jones doubled down on his intent to make the project reach fruition, bringing in his friend and fellow jazz head, Dr. Dorothy Lieberman, to help co-produce the effort.
 
The musicians began the intensive work such a project demands. Finally, in April of 2018 Kimbrough led a trio and then the quartet at Jazz at the Kitano, polishing 30 new tunes on the way to the full Monk catalog of 70 pieces.
 
For the recording, Matt Balitsaris provided his renowned Maggie’s Farm studios and an optimistic plan of recording a disc’s worth of material each day for six days. The musicians recorded each day from 11 to 5 or 6 in two three-day intervals broken up by a three-day respite. Miraculously this ambitious plan succeeded, with most tunes needing only one or two takes. Robinson picked his axe of choice on the spot, from the standard (tenor sax and trumpet) to the exotic (bass saxophone, echo cornet, bass clarinet, and contrabass sarrusophone). The resultant tracks are fresh, varied, and inspired.
 
Highlights of the group’s takes on these classic pieces include Robinson’s juggling of trumpet and tenor sax on “Thelonious” and the ensemble’s free-wheeling energy on “Skippy.” “Locomotive” is the picture of peaceful beauty, whereas “Jackie-ing” is all jumps and starts. Reid and Robinson play beautifully on “Reflections” and a lovely solo performance of  “Crepuscule with Nellie” showcases Kimbrough’s command of the piano and Monk’s language.
 
The recordings form a fantastically diverse collection.  On the six-CD set, titled Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk, Monk’s compositions are played in various configurations, most by the quartet, but others in smaller combinations, even solo piano. The package also includes beautifully penned liner notes from Nate Chinen (New York Times, WBGO and NPR) along with notes from members of the ensemble and the producers of the album.

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I really like Scott Robinson. I have Von Schlippenbach's Monk's Casino, but this will probably be hard to resist.

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I will please total ignorance and say I know nothing about Kimbrough :wub: so will be interested in what people have to say about this. 

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Very interested!

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I do dig Kimbrough's playing a lot but 6 discs of him playing Monk tunes is a bit much. Will they do a single disc "Best of" version? :) 

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Kimbrough is really good.  Heard him in Maria Schneider's Group at the Philly Art Museum several years ago along with some other Organissimo board members.   That being said,  I'm not interested in listening to anybody except Monk doing six discs of Monk compositions.  Have never heard a Monk tribute that stuck with me.  Something idiosyncratic in Monk's playing that makes his compositions come alive.

Edited by felser

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Is it going to have that Christmas song?

Christmas will be here before you know it!

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On 9/11/2018 at 9:32 AM, felser said:

Kimbrough is really good.  Heard him in Maria Schneider's Group at the Philly Art Museum several years ago along with some other Organissimo board members.   That being said,  I'm not interested in listening to anybody except Monk doing six discs of Monk compositions.  Have never heard a Monk tribute that stuck with me.  Something idiosyncratic in Monk's playing that makes his compositions come alive.

Have you ever listened to Misha Mengelberg/Han Bennink or their ICP (Instant Composer’s Pool) play Monk’s music?

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Tehre's also this:

a0523027545_10.jpg

Kimbrough has his own perspective, as do all the others.

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None of these have 'Harlem Is Awful Messy' because they think it is missing.

Not a great piece, but complete is complete...

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12 minutes ago, Steve Reynolds said:

Have you ever listened to Misha Mengelberg/Han Bennink or their ICP (Instant Composer’s Pool) play Monk’s music?

They were outstanding with both Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols reworkings .... saw them live in Bimhuis/Amsterdam 1987 and Nickelsdorf/Austria 1988 with programs comprising mainly of this material - those were the days  ....

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58 minutes ago, Steve Reynolds said:

Have you ever listened to Misha Mengelberg/Han Bennink or their ICP (Instant Composer’s Pool) play Monk’s music?

Yes I have, thanks.  

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Frank is (...or perhaps was...) a lurker/occasional poster here. In the binge-able present, is such a large project that surprising? I'm intrigued enough to explore. Maybe some more Andrew Hill or Herbie Nichols retrospectives in the future?

Finally got a copy of Frank's solo piano date Air (Palmetto). Loving the much slower take on "Wig Wise". Has anyone heard Solstice (Pirouet) w Jay Anderson and Jeff Hirschfield? I have not.

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51 minutes ago, Patrick said:

Has anyone heard Solstice (Pirouet) w Jay Anderson and Jeff Hirschfield? I have not.

Patrick, I have Solstice. I think it's wonderful. :tup To be honest, everything that I've heard from Kimbrough has been excellent. 

That said, style-wise, Kimbrough is not someone I'd associate with Thelonious. I guess that's one of the reasons that this set sounds intriguing.

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On 9/12/2018 at 11:04 AM, JSngry said:

Tehre's also this:

a0523027545_10.jpg

Kimbrough has his own perspective, as do all the others.

As I said on Sept. 10!!!

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I saw Frank live several times and thoroughly enjoyed his playing. Over the years, I've picked up many of his recordings like "Autumn", "Chant", "Play", "Rumors" and "Lullabluebye"... see a trend? I'm surprised that this CD isn't simply titled "Monk"? :)

I have no doubt that Kimbrough can do justice here. Just listen to the title track of his recording, "Lullabluebye" to hear him play in a style very reminiscent of Monk on a tune he composed. I think he'll do fine here.

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Frank was also a friend of Andrew Hill’s and was/is an advocate of Hill’s music. Has anybody ever done an album of Hill compositions?

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13 minutes ago, ghost of miles said:

Frank was also a friend of Andrew Hill’s and was/is an advocate of Hill’s music. Has anybody ever done an album of Hill compositions?

500x500.jpg

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On 9/11/2018 at 3:11 PM, JSngry said:

Is it going to have that Christmas song?

Christmas will be here before you know it!

What Christmas song? 

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14 minutes ago, medjuck said:

What Christmas song? 

A Merrier Christmas

Benny Green recording of it:

 

18 minutes ago, soulpope said:

500x500.jpg

Duh!  I completely forgot about that one... I've never gotten around to picking it up, shamefully.  Adding to the wish-list right now.

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On 9/11/2018 at 6:11 PM, JSngry said:

Is it going to have that Christmas song?

Christmas will be here before you know it!

It's on there!

Really digging this set, btw, and good liners by Kimbrough, Nate Chinen, and others.

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