LABELS: Blue Note
WORKS: Four in One
PERFORMER: Sonny Fortune (as, f), Kirk Lightsey (p), Buster Williams/Santi Debriano (b), Billy Hart/Ronnie Burrage (d)
CATALOGUE NO: CDP 8 28243 2
Particularly welcome because Sonny Fortune has more often graced albums by the likes of Nat Adderley, Miles Davis and Elvin Jones than appeared under his own name, this is also that rarest of birds, a ‘tribute’ album which contrives to combine respect and admiration for its dedicatee, Thelonious Monk, with originality and verve from an all-star band.
Fortune is a fluent and energetic player; his slightly tart tone lends a suitably acerbic, occasionally even astringent edge to his interpretations of Monk’s famously eccentric themes, his grainy exuberance accentuates their basic bluesiness. In Kirk Lightsey he has a superb foil – witness their affecting duet on the ballad feature ‘Reflections’. With top-class support from both rhythm sections, and touching all Monk bases from the familiar to the unjustly neglected, this is an album to treasure. Chris Parker