THE LAST MONK - Jessica Williams, solo piano - for Red and Blue Records - a BESTSELLER - THIS ALBUM IS AVAILABLE: BUY
1 Old Japanese Folk Song (traditional)
2 Ruby my Dear (Thelonious Monk, BMI Music)
3 Monk's Dream (Thelonious Monk, BMI Music)
4 Green Chimneys (Thelonious Monk, BMI Music)
6 Mysterioso (Thelonious Monk, BMI Music)
7 Raise Four (Thelonious Monk, BMI Music) trio w Jeff Johnson b, Mel Brown dr
8 Straight no Chaser (Thelonious Monk, BMI Music)
Hmmm. The Last Monk. Would that infer that I am never ever going to play his music again? His marvelous, miraculous, incredibly inventive music? The music of Thelonious Sphere Monk will reside in my heart, right next to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and all of the "marshall" teachers I've had through the years. This music is deep. The title simply means that we'll never hear or see the likes of him again on this planet. No one ever could replace him.
"THE MONK RUNS DEEP"—and that is the noble truth. And he IS the LAST MONK we will see forever and ever.
The music I've chosen for this compilation was drawn from several sources, mainly out-takes of studio sessions that didn't make it to the final pressing. Sometimes the best of the best gets "left on the cutting-room floor", and a habit of mine is to squirrel away the recordings that may have been passed by for one reason or another. Sometimes they were first takes. As Picasso said (or it may have been that someone just said that he said it) "the first is always the best, even if it's ugly".
You won't find ugliness here, but you may find a few first takes. I hope you enjoy this music. It's hard to play and ever so much fun. Thelonious Sphere Monk was a jazz musician first, last, and always. But there are many many strong currents of European Classical music and a generous peppering of dissonance in much of the "Monk Experience". Because you must experience Monk. You just can't sit down and just listen to it. It will sneak up and grab you eventually. It's nature is strong and muscular, but Boo! it's filled with humor and pure fun (as well as undeniable pain and struggle). This is one of our greatest composers, one of our finest musical minds. That his life was less than a happy one at times, riddled by the inexcusable racism of our nation's history—this is not at all "over" as some politicians would have us believe—is a sorrow. We can only enjoy his message, celebrate his own victory over oppression and downright ignorance, and make sure that gifts such as his are met with welcoming love and supportive intent in the future. His gift is full of joy and hope and love.
So we should be. - Jessica Williams, Feb 2nd, 2013.
Trio track is Jeff Johnson b, Mel Brown dr., Cover Art by Painter Boris Chaliapin
'In the last few years many jazz musicians have recorded Monk tunes. Jessica Williams is the only piano player I have heard who can play in a style that is an extension of Monk's original style. This is one of her many interesting CDs but this one is essential for any Monk fan. Ms. Williams manages to hold your interest from beginning to end on solo piano.' -A music fan
'Some day, a major jazz label may come to its senses and sign Jessica. In the meantime, In the Key of Monk and her other CDs, past and future, are worth whatever effort it takes to find them in a forest overgrown with ordinary jazz piano recordings. ***** (5 stars) Les L___'
Artist's Review of this CD: