In the work of both Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk, the dichotomy of ancient, pre-western approaches and extreme modernism live side-by-side so comfortably that one mistakes one for the other. Like the story that Ornette told of performing in a psychiatric hospital; once he started playing and looked out into the audience he couldn’t distinguish between the doctors and the patients.
Bëla Bartók believed that new music must have deep roots in folk music, music of the earth, chthonic in that sense. Besides virtuosity as servant to meaningful expression, communication and sensitive interplay, what Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro reveal to us through this many-layered concept of uncovering new secrets in Monk’s compositions via the Harmolodic highway is their profound understanding that the root of all this is the Blues.
Ornette’s view of the Blues, like his late friend Buckminster Fuller’s view of the world, is multi-dimensional, here imbued with both Monk’s and Ornette’s focus on personal expression. Matt and John provide an extended view into myriad musical possibilities when Harmolodic Monk is in the hands of two improvisational masters.