Posts Tagged ‘Thelonius Monk’

Jazz as “the opposite of business”

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Nice ending paragraph from an article in today’s New York Times about the 2005 releases of a 1957 Thelonius Monk Quartet archival on Blue Note, and Coltrane’s One Down, One Up (which is at the top of my wish list).

This is how jazz works. It is not a volume business. (Its essence is the opposite of business.) Its greatest experiences are given away cheaply, to rooms of 50 to 200 people. Literature and visual art are both so different: the creator stands back, judges a fixed object, then refines or discards before letting the words go to print, or putting images to walls. A posthumously found Hemingway novel is never as good as what he judged to be his best work. But in jazz there is always the promise that the art’s greatest examples - even by those long dead - may still be found.

If this is the case, then, and I say this because I have Tzadik on the brain thanks to eMusic, John Zorn and company are following the right model — releasing scads of great live recordings alongside (or, in the case of bands like Electric Masada, in lieu of) relatively contemporaneous studio recordings. Tim Berne is another great example, as his Screwgun releases are often basically just high-quality audience DAT recordings packaged onto CDs.

On that topic, I’m currently most enthralled with the latest 50th Birthday release, Painkiller’s. This series has been a real goldmine for me, although I’ve been avoiding the non-band stuff (Zorn solo and with guests) except for Volume 5, the duo with Fred Frith, because I know that stuff will just grate on me more than anything else. But the stuff I do have is fantastic, including this one (Volume 12).

MTV anchor not much into jazz

Friday, August 25th, 2000

Ha! From Guy Berger’s sig file. Formatting is mine:

Bill Clinton [responding to a question about his favorite musicians]: “…and another of my favorites is Thelonious Monk…”
Tabitha Soren: “Mr. Clinton, who is the loneliest monk? Can you tell us more about him?”
— MTV’s Rock the Vote, 1992

I updated my top 25 list yesterday. Just noticed that I use the word “blistering” at least three times on the page. Hehe.

From the Arlequins news page I read this, said by Neal Morse of the upcoming Spock’s Beard album: “It has all the typical elements of a SB cd plus a couple of surprises. There will be two long pieces in order to make prog fans happy and 4 short songs for normal people.” You know, I don’t think writing long pieces “in order to make prog fans happy” is a particularly good reason to write long pieces. Perhaps this explains why most of the long Beard pieces I’ve heard are disjointed and contrived.