Thursday, August 9, 2012

#19: Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners (1957)

Thelonious Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer of all time. He's not only a giant in the jazz world but in American music. Because of the limited amount of tracks on the album, I've decided to discuss it more as a whole than as the sum of it's parts.

Is it youth? Is it social media and electronics? What makes jazz harder for me to listen to the older I get? If I listen to this album with the idea of re-recording a solo or mimicking his improvisational technique it's much more approachable. My favorite track on the album was 'I Surrender, My Dear' which is all piano. There's no doubting the man's excellence on the instrument.

I think the idea of listening to jazz is much like a fine wine. Unless you have the pallet for it and are willing to consistently work to improve it, then it's a skill that will quickly diminish until all you can say is, "it sounds good." Really, that's all I'm left with. It sounds good. It sounds really good. If I were to take the time to understand the chord structures and the voicings that he is making I'm sure I'd be able to appreciate this album much more.

All in all, it's another very influential jazz album in it's time. While the complexities of the album are abundant, it's not jazz that's easily listenable by the average pop music fan. The solos are very complete and intricate but there's no hummable tune throughout the record.

This album was chosen from the book '1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die' 10/1001

Tomorrow's album: The White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan.

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