Muhal Richard Abrams / Barry Harris

Interpretations of Monk, Vol. 1

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Three and a half months before Thelonious Monk died, two memorable tribute concerts took place at Columbia University. The lineup of musicians was perfect: soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy (long an expert on Monk's music), Thelonious' longtime tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, trombonist Roswell Rudd, trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Richard Davis, either Ben Riley or Ed Blackwell on drums, and four different pianists. This legendary event was fortunately recorded, and the afternoon concert has been released in full on this 1997 double-CD set. Pianist Muhal Richard Abrams is on the first CD, while Barry Harris takes his place on the second half. Both of the pianists have a brief solo piece as a feature; Lacy takes "Gallop's Gallop" unaccompanied, and the full group jams on 11 of Monk's more difficult pieces. The unique opportunity to hear this combination of musicians and the many inspired moments make the double-CD a highly recommended acquisition for anyone interested in the music of Thelonious Monk.

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