Tete Montoliu

The Music I Like to Play, Vol. 3

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The third of Tete Montoliu's four CDs of piano solos for Soul Note is a tribute to Thelonious Monk, not only covering nine of Monk's compositions, but also a pair of standards the late pianist enjoyed playing from time to time. Montoliu's approach to the keyboard is hardly a slavish adaptation of Monk's style, though there are some obvious influences, and as liner note writer Art Lange points out, he owes a debt to Bud Powell as well. He opens the CD with an uncredited chorus or so of the elegantly played "Jackie-Ing" before launching into overdrive for "Straight, No Chaser"; likewise, his daredevil approach to the furiously played "Well, You Needn't" is a treat. His disguised introduction to "Let's Call This" plays with the listener's ears, and he plays a modified form of stride in "Blues Five Spot." He also stretches the boundaries of the two standards "Sweet and Lovely" and "April in Paris" in a playful way worthy of Monk. It's a pity that Montoliu only recorded one more studio session as a leader following this productive date, but all of the late blind pianist's releases from his final years are well worth acquiring.

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