ERIC REED, THE DANCING MONK

Less a tribute recording than a jumping off point for pianist Eric Reed’s immutable talent, “The Dancing Monk”(Savant Records), is proof positive that there’s limitless invention in the music of Thelonious Monk. Armed with a perceptive trio, Reed’s nuanced gospel-tinged riffs light up swinging versions of “Eronel” and “Pannonica,” each punctuated by Ben Wolfe’s just-right bass lines. A cluster of introspective ballads (“Reflections,” “Light Blue,” “Ruby, My Dear”) threaten to dampen Reed’s program, but the insertion of clever quotes, like when Reed slips in a bar from “Everything Happens To Me,” keeps drawing you back into the music. Reed discovers a breezy samba in “Ugly Beauty” and turns the sole original – the title cut – into a giddy hard-hitting romp thanks to drummer McClenty Hunter.  In the liner notes, Reed points to Monk’s tenacity to swing, and “The Dancing Monk” underscores this commitment through Reed’s blue-eyed notes crossed with jump-up melodies. (10 tracks; 49:33 minutes)
    

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JAZZ IN SPACE: ERIC REED, THE DANCING MONK

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

ERIC REED, THE DANCING MONK

Less a tribute recording than a jumping off point for pianist Eric Reed’s immutable talent, “The Dancing Monk”(Savant Records), is proof positive that there’s limitless invention in the music of Thelonious Monk. Armed with a perceptive trio, Reed’s nuanced gospel-tinged riffs light up swinging versions of “Eronel” and “Pannonica,” each punctuated by Ben Wolfe’s just-right bass lines. A cluster of introspective ballads (“Reflections,” “Light Blue,” “Ruby, My Dear”) threaten to dampen Reed’s program, but the insertion of clever quotes, like when Reed slips in a bar from “Everything Happens To Me,” keeps drawing you back into the music. Reed discovers a breezy samba in “Ugly Beauty” and turns the sole original – the title cut – into a giddy hard-hitting romp thanks to drummer McClenty Hunter.  In the liner notes, Reed points to Monk’s tenacity to swing, and “The Dancing Monk” underscores this commitment through Reed’s blue-eyed notes crossed with jump-up melodies. (10 tracks; 49:33 minutes)
    

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