Monk's Music Trio

Monk's Bones

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Before Thelonious Monk purists start speculating on the potential morbidity of the title of Monk's Music Trio's third lushly rendered exploration of the legendary pianist's catalog, the truth must be told: it was inspired by the name of a book on the Ellington trombone section Roswell Rudd (who along with Max Perkoff, son of group pianist Si Perkoff, forms a welcome new trombone section) had been reading prior to the date. The trio's desire to show Duke's keen influence on Monk is no doubt the driving force behind the addition of the horn to the trio's core sound. Monk never much used trombone on his own recordings, but judging from the happy results here, he definitely should have. They add a lush harmonic texture to a faithful reading of "'Round Midnight" that plays a lot like Miles Davis' version -- only led by Si Perkoff's tender piano melody. Yet it's on the up-tempo tunes where the percussive nature of the new horn sound shines brightest. The lively, swinging train song "Little Rootie Tootie" begins with the horns blowing a call-and-response whistle with Si Perkoff's percussive piano, and the horns swirl hypnotically throughout. The similarly playful "San Francisco Holiday" was featured on the trio's previous release, but the two horns add enough of a newfound playful spirit to merit a new twist here. The 'bones also come in handy on the strangely intriguing avant-garde rendering of "Friday the Thirteenth," which begins with drummer Chuck Bernstein playing blues on the Brazilian one-stringed berimbau.

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