This great album may well claim the title of “disc of the year”. Formally it belongs in the category tribute album, but it was too different from the usual work of this kind. Especially because we have a double tribute here. One character of this tribute is quite obvious: his name is on the cover. Interest in the work of Thelonious Monk and his ideas over the years, like a noble wine, gaining momentum.I usually don’t point out in my reviews an album’s tracklist, but in this case I want to bring it out fully. So, a program of the album made the following pieces of the famous pianist and composer: Epistrophy; Pannonica; Green Chimneys; ‘Round Midnight; Crepuscule with Nellie; Nutty; Ruby, My Dear; Let’s Cool One; Blue Monk; Monk’s Mood, In Walked Bud – almost all of the most famous and regularly performed Monk tunes .And now for the second hero tribute, whose name is immediately identifiable if not to the ordinary jazz fan, certainly to the advanced one. He, of course, linked the definition of “harmolodics” with his philosophical concept of music, Ornette Coleman. The man, whom many consider the father of free jazz (and only this term in any case originated in the title of his album), created his, frankly, somewhat confusing and vague theory harmolodics (in this word he combined the concept of “harmony”, “movement “and” melody “, of course, in their English sound). In a nutshell, it is based on the same principles as in the free jazz – atonality, polymodality, rhythmic freedom and so on, but also focused on the crucial role of the individual musician.
So, a collection of great Monk music performed in this project from the standpoint of Coleman’s harmolodic theory.
Well, now it’s time to move on to the creators of the project. There’s two of them, so that we are dealing with a difficult to execute and not always easy to grasp duo. By the way, Monk – pianist, Coleman – saxophonist, but these are not the tools you’ll hear on the Harmolodic Monk album. Tools for this duo did are quite formidable. Matt Lavelle plays the cornet, flugelhorn and alto clarinet, and his colleague John Pietaro – vibraphone, congas and other percussion, including an Irish drum bodhrán (according to experts Gaelic word correctly transcribe it that way). Trumpeter Matt Lavelle’s (b.1970) work has been through a series of metamorphoses: he began to swing, then played the mainstream, but at the end of the last century became friendly with the Downtown Music in New York, became inveterate avant-garde. In 2005, Matt then took lessons from Ornette Coleman. Apparently, it was then that he was filled with harmolodic ideas, and certainly since then introduced into their arsenal of tools the alto clarinet, to evaluate the sound in his performance you will be able to hear it on the first track Epistrophy. John Pietaro not only a musician, but is also a publicist. In both guises the Brooklyn native professes the most radical views on art and also belongs to the circle of brilliant masters of avant-garde jazz.
I will not go into the details of the presentation Monk’s music in duet in terms of theories of Coleman, and advise you not to dwell on it. Better to just listen to the exquisite sounding (wind + vibraphone and percussion), to the original creative interpretation and this just extraordinarily interesting music. I can only say that the version of ‘Round Midnight
by the duo Lavelle- Pietaro seemed to me one of the best ever heard before. I strongly advise not to miss this album!
– Leonid Auskern
© & (p) 2014 Unseen Rain Records
10 tks / 73 mins
(Matt Lavelle – cornet, flg, alto cl; John Pietaro – vibe, bodhrán, congas, perc;)