About the album
Thelonious Monk is a Mount Rushmore figure in the creation of modern jazz. As the centennial of his birth rapidly approaches, Beasley—pianist, conductor and arranger—has grappled with the complex composer’s legacy with his versatile big band riffing on the wit and unmistakable architecture of the Monk songbook with irrepressible energy and swinging abandon on MONK’estra, Volume 1.
‘The sound and the feel of MONK’estra is inspired by the spirit of Thelonious Monk which is about swing, feel, experimenting, and modern contemporary harmony. Undeniably, I have been transfixed and transformed by Monk. As a teen, I would stare at his album covers, read every word written in the liner notes, because I felt that there were so many layers and layers of messages he was trying to communicate in his genius, music, art, words, and non-words. He showed us how to be free, courageous, experimental, and non-judgmental. Palms together and deep bow to you, my teacher, Thelonious Monk.’ – John Beasley