by Mark Saleski
This record has more often than not been out of print. Maybe it’s the legalities involved in dealing with such a large cast. Maybe it’s record company incompetence. I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s one fantastic, diverse and powerful tribute to Thelonious Monk. I got a freshly ‘minted’ copy of the CD thanks to a good friend of mine who has taken to digitizing out of print vinyl via his computer and ultra-swanky Basis turntable. In the long run, I suppose that it’s just not worth the record companies’ time/money to be dealing with this stuff. Seems a shame, given the enormous list of treasures out there (which is just one of the reasons I’m still into vinyl).
Anyway, back to that ‘diversity’ thing. Musicians from the worlds of traditional jazz, the New York ‘Downtown’ scene, pop and rock all contribute. The result, while not as, uhmm, ambient as on Wilner’s Weird Nightmare – Meditations On Mingus, is still impressive. A partial list: Steve Kahn, Donald Fagan, Steve Lacey, Dr. John, Carla Bley, Joe Jackson, NRBQ, John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Peter Frampton, Randy Weston, Todd Rundgren, Don Was, Anton Fig. There are just too many highlights to deal with here. Straight readings, twisted versions, joy, doom, humor. It was all there in Monk’s music, and it’s here too. Check it out (if you can).
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