LABELS: Blue Note
PERFORMER: TS Monk
CATALOGUE NO: CDP 7 99614 2
This group, led by the inspiring drumming of TS ‘Toot’ Monk, are quite one of the most exciting hard-bop bands performing since the genre was ushered back into view during the early Eighties. Monk, who claims to have learnt the idiom by osmosis from his father, Thelonious Monk, brings the thrill of invention back to a style of jazz that seemed to be running out of steam.
Although he subsequently played with his father during the last years of his performing career, Toot Monk went on to play in the commercial idiom until a respectable period had passed since his father’s death in 1982. If he was keen to avoid charges of capitalising on an impeccable reputation, he need not have worried. His crisp performance is a model of interactive playing: Don Sickler on trumpet is a revelation, while Bobby Porcelli on alto, Willie Williams on tenor and Ronnie Matthews on piano are equally convincing. Unless a player is touched by genius, it takes time and experience to make a convincing statement in jazz. These musicians have learnt their lessons well. Stuart Nicholson