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Journal of rafael (2125)

Monday June 30, 2003
07:11 AM

Thelonica

[ #13149 ]
I bought a record this week-end, Thelonica , by the pianist Tommy Flanagan. It's a homage to Thelonious Monk, one of the greatest pianists and composers of the XXth century -- all compositions but the last are Monk's. Tommy Flanagan is one of those underrated bebop pianists -- in spite of his participation in historical records (Saxophone Colossus, by Sonny Rollins, or Giant Steps, by John Coltrane, in some way the nec plus ultra of bebop), or his work with Ella Fitzgerald or Tony Bennett. I'm not usually writing about jazz records, but this one has not only a very high musical level, it has also been made with a unusual level of love, respect and humility, making it probably the most touching musical homage I've ever heard. It's very rare to find some music that can express such complex feelings with so much delicacy and intensity. For example, on Reflections, Tommy Flanagan actually sounds like Monk during the first few bars. Shades of Monk's unique toucher are also evocated during Flanagan's improvisation on Thelonious -- not like an imitation, or a pastiche, but much more like a remembrance of a friend that finally became a part of yourself. This tour de force can only be achieved with lot of work, of talent and of empathy. The only other example of that kind of acknowledged musical mimicry I can think about is a version of Duke Ellington's Azure recorded by Cecil Taylor, another underrated pianist, in the late fifties.

Rating : a huge number of stars. Highly recommended to anyone is familiar with the history of jazz.

Oh, and I also bought the 6th season of BtVS, and I watched the famous Once more, with feeling, that I hadn't seen before. -- Did you notice how Nicholas Brendon looks like Jerry Lewis when he dances ? Or is it just me ?

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