Matt Lavelle & John Pietaro: Harmolodic Monk

Here’s one that’s gonna keep you awake-classic compositions by Thelonious Monk analyzed and stretched out by the duo of Matt Lavelle and John Pietaro, who mix and match cornet, flugelhorn (I defy you to discern the difference here with authority), alto clarinet, vibes, bodhran, congas and percussion. The winds belong to the former and rhythms to the latter, and everyone takes turns in solos and duets to create a fascinating mix. Each get an unaccompanied spotlight, with Lavelle’s clear tone on clarinet longing and filling the room with a clarion “Crepescule With Nellie” and Pietaro glistening with a stellar “Ruby My Dear.” Framing those are some free form mixes of percussion and reeds on “Epistrophy” and a thunderous “Monk’s Mood” that has Lavelle sounding like a gravelly voiced hippo rubbing against Pietaro’s bodhran. On horn, Lavelle goes rapid fire with some peppy percussion on “Green Chimneys” and squawks with glassy accompaniment on “Blue Monk.” Thelonious himself would have tipped one of his hats to this wonderfully  irreverent tribute.

Unseen Rain Record

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