The music of Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell continues to reveal inner secrets, as this engaging set by dummer Paul Motian and his Electric Bebop Band shows. The group's name of the group is a function of the two electric guitars (Kurt Rosenwinkel and Steve Cardenas) and the electric bass (Steve Swallow), although the remaining members are strictly acoustic (tenor saxophones Chris Cheek and Chris Potter and, of course, drummer Motian). The arrangements are entirely respectful of the compositions, although liberties are taken with tempo and harmony. The results are more than satisfactory, if somewhat conservative, with the solos passed about generously. Motian again reveals his ability to kick and burn, as well as play sensitively, reaffirming his place among the greatest jazz drummers.
Former leader of prog-folk band The Morrigan, Colin Masson is an English multi-instrumentalist who focusses on guitar, both acoustic and electric but especially the latter. Colin Masson plays an interesting and eclectic progressive rock style. There are especially lots of folk influences in Colin's music, but there are also some ambient and new-age influences in there as well. Colin Masson clearly has a distinct sound that's easy to pick out from a crowd of Genesis and ELP clones. This highly original approach is partially what makes the album so enjoyable, but the high level of compositional quality helps as well…
For Monk fans, these Mo-Fis are must-haves. Wow! After releasing so many mediocre rock albums, Mobile Fidelity came through with not one but TWO shiny gold CDs by the enigmatic, lovable Thelonious Monk (accompanied in these live recordings by Charlie Rouse on sax, John Ore on bass, and Frank Dunlop on drums)….
Two years after the death of pianist-composer Thelonious Monk, this very unusual and quite memorable double-LP tribute was put together. Producer Hal Willner's most successful project, the 23 interpretations of Monk originals all feature a different group of all-star players and stretch beyond jazz. Some of the performances are fairly straightforward while others are quite eccentric; certainly the crazy duet on "Four in One" by altoist Gary Windo and Todd Rundgren (on synthesizers and drum machines) and the version of "Shuffle Boil" featuring John Zorn on game calls (imitating the sound of ducks) are quite unique. There are many colorful moments throughout the project and the roster of musicians is remarkable: Bobby McFerrin with Bob Dorough, Peter Frampton, Joe Jackson, Steve Lacy, Dr. John, Gil Evans, Randy Weston, Roswell Rudd, Eugene Chadbourne and Shockabilly, the Fowler Brothers, NRBQ, Steve Khan, Carla Bley, Barry Harris, Was (Not Was) and many others. There is not a slow moment or uninteresting selection on this highly recommended set.