The Floating Jazz Festival, which takes place aboard the Queen Elizabeth II (previously held on the SS Norway), has been a regular source for outstanding live sets on the Chiaroscuro label. These excerpts from performances by Junior Mance and Joe Temperley are no exception, as they devote an entire program to works by Thelonious Monk. Accompanied by the highly in-demand young bassist Peter Washington and grizzled veteran drummer Mickey Roker, they've got a couple of surprises in store. First of all, Temperley, though known primarily as a baritone saxophonist, proves himself to be a capable bass clarinetist on the swinging opener, "Blue Monk," as well as a superb soprano saxophonist in the twisting blues "Straight, No Chaser." Of course, his hearty baritone is heard on the balance of the date, though the most obvious choice, "'Round Midnight," is unfortunately not present. Mance is featured with the rhythm section in a crisp workout of "Ask Me Now," and his strong chops are present throughout the disc. As an added bonus, one track ("Hackensack") from their 1996 concerts on the S/S Norway (with bassist Keter Betts and drummer Jackie Williams) wraps the CD. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden