Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

viernes, octubre 16, 2009

Remembering The Monk

In a book review of Robin D.G. Kelley's new "Thelonious Monk: The Life And Times Of An American Original," August Kleinzahler gets Monk's music just right:

It’s an angular, splintered sound, percussive in attack and asymmetrical, music that always manages to swing hard and respect the melody. Monk was big on melody. Thelonious Monk’s body of work, as composer and player (the jazz critic Whitney Balliett called Monk’s compositions “frozen . . . improvisations” and his improvisations “molten . . . compositions”), sits as comfortably beside Bartok’s Hungarian folk-influenced compositions for solo piano as it does beside the music of jazz giants like James P. Johnson, Teddy Wilson and Duke Ellington, some of the more obvious influences on Monk. It’s unclear how much of Bartok he listened to. Monk did know well and play Rach­maninoff, Liszt and Chopin (especially Chopin). Stravinsky was also a favorite.

Precisely right. And the book itself, according to the review, sounds wonderful.

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