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Posted on June 14th, 2006 in Concerts | Tags: concerts
On July 20 Wynton Marsalis will play with Cedar Walton, Bill Charlap and others, for a special tribute to Thelonious Monk at 92nd Street Y
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Does Wynton plan to return from Europe for the performance at the 92nd Street Y on July 20? And then return to Europe for the concerts in Marciac in early August? Since he hates to fly I was surprised to see that he coming back and just wanted to double check. Thanks!
— From Michelle Hainer on Jun 15th, 2006 at 10:12pm
— From Luigi Beverelli on Jun 16th, 2006 at 6:37am
My name is Victor Cager and I’m a Baritone Classical Jazz Vocalist in Dallas,TX.
Recently I had the distinct privilege of recording with The Dallas Jazz Orchestra and I would like you and Wynton to hear it. All my selections are standards and I’m probably one of the last vocalists to actually include the verses in the renditions I do. I’m would very much like to meet Wynton.
I’m a Vocalist who tries to avoid the flashy vocal pyrotechnics and get right to the lyrical heart of the matter! If you’ll e-mail me I’ll send you a couple of selections from my recording.
Thanking You in Advance,
P.S. Thanks So Much for All You’ve Done for this Incredible art form we affectionately refer to as Jazz.
— From Victor Cager on Jun 23rd, 2006 at 5:54pm
Last night’s performance was solidly presented and enjoyable. Bill Charlap (piano) followed his fellow musicians intensely at times; it was obvious he was working with them, listening to each one carefully so as to support through the magical spaces for improvisation granted through Monk’s music. Charlap’s style is interesting to watch. His posture while playing Monk was not good. He was rather slumped over and tilted to the side most of the night. I wonder if this is typical or the result of playing Monk in particular, a way of getting to Monk through physical gesturing. I noticed, too, that he’d keep time in his hands and hold them raised and trembling above the keys as he waited to articulate his next phrase. But it was Cedar Walton who brought the most “feeling” to the piano last night. He was gentle on the keys (with Monk?!) and pensive. Monk seemed to be in him and he extracted from himself the beauty of Monk; Monk’s disconcerting melodic simplicity and incredible complex texture. Walton did this all with such ease…the musicians all seemed to play with him, for him last night.
Jeremy Pelt and Wynton played trumpet. Jeremy seems to be a wonderful technician but, alas, was no match for My Hero. What a good effort! Pelt held his own, standing side-to-side with My Hero and trading 12s (4s!) on Four in One. Wynton, no doubt, pushed Pelt to reach higher, beyond his (Pelt’s) own comfort level by playing dazzling amazingly fast paced notes with superb dexterity and though Pelt hung in there, he seemed to either “backed down” or shied away from the opportunity to move beyond comfort. I was hoping, as Wynton egged him on, that Pelt would be the one to excite the crowd last night, to take us to new sonic destinations but he did not. Wynton, as great as he is, just played “normally” superbly and masterfully. That he could dazzle was nothing new and I felt Pelt shied away from the challenge. Perhaps this was a matter of being in a concert hall as opposed to a small club (smoky and lacking AC) where his adventurous forays might have been not only expected but well received. In any case, the trumpet playing could have been more; it could have been thrilling.
What I like most about Wynton’s playing (in general) is his ability to quell the room, calm and unsettle the crowd by playing long tones amidst fast playing. This contrast in sound is unexpected and is the equivalent to sounding a bull horn in a room filled with chatter; it commands the listeners attention. Once Wynton had our attention (no, he never lost it) he wound us up in bluesy swirls as he played down the register. This is effective (for him) in silencing not just the crowd but his on-stage competitor. Pelt stood dumbfounded each time Wynton did this. He did not quite know how to respond. Wynton would take Pelt’s last phrase and extend the final note and then use it to create a dazzling “mockery” of what Pelt had just done. Whew. Vicious and lovely at once.
Wynton and Charlap played “Round Midnight” and silenced the crowd. We sat in awe (yes, everyone, I polled the room) as Charlap supported Wynton and let Wynton roam and wander and amaze. It was a beautiful moment filled with emotion and tenderness and longing. At a point, when he was bent into a twisted contortion that I am sure helped render more clearly various notes, the tail of his Super Hero cape peeked thru his light grey suit. Unaffected but likely feeling exposed, Wynton eased into an upright position blushing, I am sure that we now knew he was not one of us.
Steve Nelson (vibraphones) was brilliant. He played with an intensity that I think kept Charlap working overtime. He was so deep into playing that I do not think he knew the audience was present. When we exploded into applause (after nearly each of his solos last night) he seemed surprised that we were in the room.
Drummer Kenny Washington had a good time while playing last night. He seemed to really enjoy himself. Although the overall presentation last night was “solid” Washington took chances and rendered at least one brilliant solo.
Peter Washington, bass, enjoyed his time on stage last night! He played a really, really, long solo bc I think he forgot the audience was in the room.
Jimmy Greene (tenor) was wonderful! He commanded the stage, not merely because he is a large man, but because his sound carried the room. Two trumpets on stage, playing together at times, did not detract from Greene’s ability to infuse the room with his personal sound. But he was not a “forceful” player like James Carter. Greene’s sound is rich and full and round and big but not domineering though distinctive.
On another note, people were pissed off about Ben Ratliff’s review of Bucky Pizzarelli and for good reason. I thought of you Rocky as several people expressed their discontent. I also thought of the “groupie” crowd for jazz musicians. An interesting bunch. A study in itself.
— From Jurzy Girl on Jul 21st, 2006 at 9:52am
Again Jurzy, you have described last night’s event in such a way that I could actually hear and see everything you described. It must have been quite an evening. Was it a capacity filled crowd? I’m curious as to your take on the “groupie crowd” for jazz musicians. I would welcome your comments and insight. Nevertheless, thank you again for sharing. By any chance, did you get to greet our hero?
— From Sonalii on Jul 22nd, 2006 at 12:47am
“At a point, when he was bent into a twisted contortion that I am sure helped render more clearly various notes, the tail of his Super Hero cape peeked thru his light grey suit. Unaffected but likely feeling exposed, Wynton eased into an upright position blushing, I am sure that we now knew he was not one of us.”
JG, I am sorry I do not get it.
Did they play less known Monk’s tunes that you could notice, you connaisseur;-)
— From Frederique on Jul 22nd, 2006 at 12:57am
Hi, Jurzy. I like your review better than NYT.
Well, it’s hard for any pianist to play Monk; Among (literally) contemporary critics, Coltrane said he was a musical architect of the highest order, and Mingus that Monk had the best timing of anyone. Who has followed that act?
Nice the musicians selected more familiar with lesser known pieces; Rhythm-a-ning is on Live at the It Club recording; I wonder how the performances (92nd St. with larger band) compared. The vibraphone must have added interesting effects, trumpets adding counterpoint to compositions originally scored for saxophones; Wynton’s got Monk’s timing and his horn cuts to the chase, (yes, more “Cliches To Go”, like fast food, cliches people who weren’t there ((or even were)) can instantly utilize).
I think you have a good point; a different venue from the large hall, like the old Five Spot Cafe, may have been more appropriate for Monk’s music. Hope they’ll play together again, Dizzy’s maybe.
Thanks so much, Jurzy! Glo.
— From gloria on Jul 23rd, 2006 at 8:44am
Just teasing, Frederique, about his being a Hero. He was bent and twisted and seemed filled with such emotion while playing. “Unaffected” by the tail of his hero cape peeing htur from beneath the suit he was wearing…teasing about the cape. He was not “blushing” as he stood upright. I am teasing here again bout his being exposed as a super hero and so not being “one of us.”
Yes, I saw him. He was very kind and gracious. The “groupie” crowd is just not that of rock stars or pop stars. I am typically very comfortable attending jazz concerts bc I have many peers. However, in smaller venues and upstart kind of places, I have noticed I am one of the only “mature” women.
The concert hall Thursday night was packed, looked sold out.
There was one Monk song that I did not know…hmmm…“crepiscule for …” (his wife’s name…cannot bring her name to mind right now).
— From Jurzy Girl on Jul 23rd, 2006 at 8:45am
Crepiscule With Nellie? I remember reading Monk’s Time magazine cover story in which she referred to her husband as Melodious Thunk. I then wondered if his family ever obtained the right medical attention for his problems. G.
— From gloria on Jul 23rd, 2006 at 8:57am
Found Crepuscule with Nellie; on The London Collection vol. 1 of Monk’s solo piano performances. Liner notes state this piece was a tribute to Mrs. Monk, first recorded in 1957.
— From gloria on Jul 23rd, 2006 at 9:20am
Dahhhhh Frederique, you schroumlayahooboum!!!
I missed the point. JG, you got me again. I am dense I admit (well, sometimes the good way;-))
Yes, you can be taken by the intensity of what you do, unlike your fellow mortals, and be in another “space”. Thanks for sharing the concert with us, JG.
— From Frederique on Jul 23rd, 2006 at 10:39pm
I’ve never heard Wynton playing alive any of Monk’s songs; but I have, and like very much, his “Marsalis plays Monk” CD. Could we say that Wynton shows his respect while swinging Monk’s legacy on it?…in any case, I like it….and enjoy “Worry later” with W’s laughing trumpet and H.Riley rhythm.
Concerning “Crepuscule with Nellie”; same case, only listened on CD (Intimacy Calling). It seems to me that theere is another old record with it (may be with Messengers?…anybody knows?). Anyway, tender material. Lovely. And on “Round Midnight” I have his recordings of it with the Messengers. Good stuff!. Suppose listening to it alive should be super.
Jurzy, thanks for your detailed reports. You are the best chance for feeling almost like been there in all those concerts we are unable to attend. Don’t give it up please!.
That’s life! (or it isn’t?).
— From careba on Jul 24th, 2006 at 3:22pm
Wynton is just a technician nothing more nothing less. By the way who made this guy the spokesperson for jazz. His success is largely due to his young age and that he is a classcal musician by training!!!
— From Fred Leverenz on Feb 26th, 2008 at 1:53pm
Sorry, one more comment. I remember when Wynton just walked on stage during a Miles Davis performance, you don’t do that to Miles or any performing musician That is absolutley unforgivable. Wynton just kept sayting they want me, (who is they?)
— From Fred Leverenz on Feb 26th, 2008 at 2:01pm
Sorry Fred, I disagree. Wynton’s greatest redemption is his deep spirituality. He is no shallow man. Go listen to “All Rise”, it’s a hymn, sweet and low, deep and passionate. It’s reflective of human nature, uplifting and encompassing diverse rhythmic variation. That goes beyond technique. Maybe “they” were the Angels singing in his ears.
— From Karen on Feb 27th, 2008 at 1:02am
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