Monk@Durham Day 10


Ravi Coltrane guesting with David Williams, Victor Lewis, and me.

Set 1

Played Twice
Bemsha Swing
Ask Me Now
Wee See
Monk’s Mood

Set 2

Monk’s Dream
Ugly Beauty
Criss Cross
Monk’s Mood

After the concert a woman I didn’t know came up to me and said, “I’m so glad I got to hear ‘Criss Cross’ three times! I love that piece!” Then vocalist Kate McGarry said almost the same thing, “Great to hear ‘Criss Cross!’ I learned so much from that album!”  Hard to imagine these sentences occurring anywhere else but at MONK@100….

Ravi and I played “Monk’s Mood” duo in both sets. We sort of emulated the version that Monk did with John Coltrane. After a solo piano statement there are two unexpected cadenza chords, B dominant and B-flat dominant, before the tenor and piano continue more or less in unison. In my opinion the studio recording is a window into the process of Monk’s music, where he played his songs over and over and Coltrane caught as many notes as he could.

I was sort of amazed that both Melissa Aldana and Ravi wanted to play “Skippy.” Damn, that’s a hard tune. However, both really sounded great on it. I’m coming up with a kind of personal take as well. Possible think piece: “Skippy: A jazz standard for the 21st century?”

Ravi played soprano on “Bemsha Swing” and “Rhythm-a-ning,” that was a nice move and perhaps brought a little of Mr. Steve Lacy into the room. If MONK@100 were continuing another week, it would make sense to do a night of compositions by Monk’s best students: Lacy, Herbie Nichols, Mal Waldron, Paul Motian, Roswell Rudd, Geri Allen….

But MONK@100 is done, and it was a huge success. Thank you to all, especially Aaron Greenwald (who created the project) and Tim Walter (who gave us Durham Fruit and Produce to work with).


Drummer Sarah Gooch loaned Victor some killing cymbals.


There may be a film of what happened here. If so, that will be thanks to Matt Durning.


My “taking candid photos” game was down, I didn’t even get a group shot of tonight’s quartet. But here’s Victor and Ravi talking about Geri Allen. (The last time they played together was with Geri at the Vanguard.)


Finally, a signal boost of the three big Monk pieces I published the week before the Durham festivities. (And scroll back to see quick overviews of what we did each day.)

Think of Monk (at the New Yorker Culture Desk)

Primary and Secondary Documents (this is the big one)

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Not Judged (auditioning tapes for the Monk Competition)