The adventurous Eric Reed unleashes his finest recording with The Adventurous Monk!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
To cover the groundbreaking work of Theolonious Monk a pianist needs to have equal parts ego, passion and ability and Eric Reed has these in spades. The Adventurous Monk is the finest of Reed's three Monk oriented releases and arguably his finest recording to date. When the stars are in perfect alignment then magic happens. The magic of The Adventurous Monk is a true improvisational collective has been formed where Reed's musical co-conspirators are all singing from the same page of his harmonic hymnal as he takes on the music of arguably the greatest improvisational influence of our time.
The band is A list all the way with Seamus Blake on tenor saxophone and an all star rhythm section of Ben Williams on bass and Gregory Hutchinson on drums. Charenee Wade adds her pristine vocals to Dear Ruby and the end result of this slightly larger than normal format (as opposed to the first release ) are nuanced textured rhythms that are the backbone of the Monk discography. Why does it work? Eric Reed does not get in his own way nor does he attempt to push the envelope too far with this set of iconic tunes. Reed does add his own lyrical perspective of the harmonic possibilities still smoldering just below the surface of these tunes but the tunes never get lost in arrangements that could easily over shadow the integrity of the original composition. You know the tunes, "Round Midnight" along with "Evidence" and "Pannonica."
This is a review that writes itself. I have never heard Eric Reed play better or these tunes transformed as well.
Tracks: Thelonious; Work; Reflections; Evidence; Round Midnight; Nutty; Gallop's Gallop; Pannonica; Dear Ruby; Ba-lues Bolivar Ba-lues-are.