Alto saxophonist Michael Griffin brings back to Foundry616 his Thelonious Monk Project first presented here in almost two years ago in 2017.
Some of his tunes employed simple, repetitive and brilliantly swinging riffs. These led to and broke into longer figures that seemed to boil and explode in a jumping, moil like a big band in climax. His improvised lines seemed to run in a crazy staccato all over the piano or on a curious spare climbing route, only to reach a point of almost perverse deliberation, sometimes hammering in dissonant blocks, sometimes relaxing into rhythmic tumbles or splitting into pinging single notes or sometimes firing two adjacent notes simultaneously (seconds was the term) as if they were a strange high radio code. His piano sound could be full and rich, but sometimes it chipped and chimed in the treble. Its movements could be profoundly melodic and also introspective.
“It’s as if you can hear him thinking,’” my one time colleague at the SMH, James Cockington, once said.
Yet the man lived in a kind of domesticity. He was married long term. His piano was in the kitchen. Children on the streets of Harlem called to him without fear or mockery and his piano playing found empathy with the playing of a number of highly distinctive stylists on various instruments. Here are some he played with to brilliant effect: John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Clark Terry, Wilbur Ware, Gerry Mulligan and several others. To my ear Art Blakey was the absolute ideal drummer for Monk. he could converse with Monk on various surfaces of the drum kit.
Michael Griffin – alto sax; Lachlan Hamilton, Nish Manjunath – tenor saxes; Tom Avgenicos – trumpet, Dave Panichi – trombone; Aaron Blakey – piano; Jacob Graham – bass; Tim Geldens – drums
Fantastic drinks & delicious food are served on our Venue from 5pm. Drop in for our Happy Hours before the gig!
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