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A CENTURY OF SONG: MONK AT 100

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Thursday September 28, 2017

From SFJAZZ

A CENTURY OF SONG: MONK AT 100
By: Richard Scheinin

Four Monk interpreters will lead the centenary series, starting with pianist Danilo Perez and his trio (Oct. 13). They will re-explore Perez’s Panamonk album from 1996, demonstrating the snug fit between Monk’s rhythmic pulse and Afro-Cuban clave: “Monk embodies the dance,” says Perez who grew up in Panama. “He is the father. He is the key to the Afro-American sound.”

Next comes Moran (Oct. 14), bringing back In My Mind: Monk at Town Hall, a co-commission from SFJAZZ that uses a mini-big band and multi-media to reimagine Monk’s 1959 concert. After a decade of performances — In My Mind premiered in 2007 — it has “a bit of a patina on it,” says Moran, who wants the evening to carry a sense of history, of Monk’s roots. It will include an audio tape of Monk talking, pacing the wooden floor of the Manhattan loft where he rehearsed for the Town Hall concert — and breaking into a tap dance that spells out the melody to “Little Rootie Tootie,” a composition inspired by the trains Monk watched as a child in North Carolina.

Pianist-arranger John Beasley and his 16-piece MONK’estra (Oct. 15) will delve into their new album (MONK’estra, Volume 2), which extends Monk’s tunes to include rap and Gil Evans-like atmospherics. It zeros in on some of those hooky Monk riffs: One of Beasley’s tricks is to extract a signature riff from a Monk tune and have the band stretch out over it, spinning variations on the riff — and dropping all of that on top of, say, a slow hip-hop groove.

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