Franco D'Andrea

Plays Monk

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Plays Monk Review

by Ken Dryden

Franco D'Andrea's ninth CD of solo piano for Philology is a stunning, beautifully recorded concert devoted exclusively to the music of Thelonious Monk. Starting with "Pannonica," the pianist makes use of the full range of the keyboard, in this case adding a rather dissonant introduction, a deep bassline and offering some rollicking improvisation in his interpretation. He throws his audience a curve by beginning Monk's most famous work, "'Round Midnight," in mid-phrase, then incorporating it into a long medley with the composer's theme song, "Epistrophy," "Well, You Needn't," and "I Mean You" into a very playful arrangement. There are no weak points anywhere within his performance, though at times he seems impatient with the length of the audience's enthusiastic response and starts into his next selection. In any case, this is easily one of Franco D'Andrea's top CDs; he's a formidable presence on the European jazz scene.

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