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Cela va du Casanova Rizzoli, , du journaliste R. Masters M. Joseph, London, et quelques essais. Childs, A. Hubscher et P. Gugitz C. Desch, , tandis que R. La plus. Marceau C. Classen, Marsan : Sur les pas de C. Hoek, Zaltbommel, ; GL, Il faut lire les vibrantes introductions de G. Bozzolato et de G. Pour eux comme pour F. Straub Scientiae Sociales 7, ; GL, Mannoni et F. Mesure de l'Instant, Pion, Furlan Gl. Ducros, Alden, C. Mangini dans le Dizionario biografico degli Italiani Les plus notoires ces derniers temps furent cependant les films de Comencini et de Fellini.
L'Infanzia, vocazione e prime esperienze di G. Cela va du pire jusqu'aux oniriques images de Dali ouvr. Qu'on se donne la peine de lire. When will the great Monk be really appreciated? Excellent records: among other things, "Skippy" includes an excellent solo from Monk.
It's not possible to speak of a "Monk school. In parallel with the fall, at least in appearance, of its glories, the consolidation of more modest talents can't be denied. We have never known so many musicians who are very good. Without going back on the hatching of personalities like Getz, Cohn, Sims, Eager, Stewart and Moore, all of them Lester's grandchildren, you have to consider for example the increased mastery of a pianist like Monk.
Monk, of around twenty other artists, has bettered his technique constantly, and perfected his language at the same time. They are delicate works, pieces with an extreme melodic freshness, bop that has become subdued. But that last word brings us back to the heart of the crisis. Since we only have sectors of calm to indicate, it's because creation is now no more than transformation. The drama in this is the absence of all emergence…. Two months later the original article appeared in The Record Changer, November :. It has become fashionable to think him a greatly overrated musician, something of a charlatan, a mystic whose very mysticism is calculated to conceal a rather prosaic flaw: poor musicianship.
That is utter nonsense. There is no doubt that Monk is a man without conventional scope, without the sense of the opportune, devoid entirely of the deft imagination which Dizzy Gillespie turned into an even more valuable property than his talent, by capitalizing on the physical oddities of the bop school, with great good will and ingratiating theatrics. I have a choice here between writing about Monk as he is, or as he seems to be, and is generally thought to be. He is undoubtedly a very selfish man this quality, too, is not at all unique among artists , and the business of having the world revolve around him has caused him to see things in a remarkably direct fashion—very much in the manner of a child.
In this way, the formality of wearing clothes is inexplicable to a child, just as the formality of musical structure is inexplicable to Monk. I think that some subtle facet of his mind realizes that he has this quality, and that he cherishes it. There are a couple of remarkable Calypso bands in New York, playing a real powerhouse music which is closer to Harlem in than Trinidad in any year. Monk fussed with the piano, discovering that it was a pretty venerable instrument when he sits at a piano there is a dead key on it—no matter how recently the thing was in perfect condition.
A little later, I became aware that Thelonious was doing something extraordinary—tying his shoe or waving to somebody under the piano; as I watched, mesmerized, I saw that he was yanking at the pedal post with all his might first he kept up with the band by reaching up with his right hand to strike an occasional chord, but he had to apply himself to the attack on the post with both hands, and get his back into it, too.
There was a slight crack, a ripping sound, and off came the whole works, to be flung aside as Monk calmly resumed playing. It was obvious that here was a new experience, something outside the ken of a rational man; for the rest of the evening he looked upon Thelonious with a new respect.
A necessarily iron constitution is supported by a six-foot, pound frame, which he drapes in double-breasted suits exclusively, most of the time with the coat unbuttoned. Before he had completed the necessary ceremony of bench-adjusting, pedal-testing, and coattail-draping, the audience was in a state of prostration.
This was not a matter of stage presence, or lack of it; only a perfect sample of the deportment of Thelonious Monk. At any rate, this man, unmalleable, exasperating, sometimes perverse to the point of justifiable homicide, is the man who casually formed the nucleus of the group which surprised itself by changing, at least temporarily, the direction of jazz.
That was ten years ago. Inside, though, there is an atmosphere hard to find anyplace else in New York; an ease, a lack of the professional gimlet-eyes nightclub bandits, whose only salable commodity is an obsequiousness available to one and all, for a small consideration.
There have also been, at various times, a dapper waiter named Romeo, who was as likely to dance for the customers as bring them drinks, and many young musicians working for a living; in they include Kenny Clarke and Thelonious Monk. In fact, as he tells it, he was playing essentially the same way he does now in , when he was fifteen years old. His conception is not something that grew out of what he felt was a need for something new in music—he just played that way. His ear was hearing between the lines of its own accord, and that nonconformist ago told him that what he heard was perfectly valid.
Time seems to have borne him out. I doubt that either of them, or anyone else, knew what they were doing, saw anything momentous on the horizon, or even cared particularly. The complex personality which makes his behavior unpredictable has made his music stimulating to gifted and receptive men like Parker and Gillespie; that personality is unchangeable, the stimulus is unfading.
Any new enterprise requires a certain personnel to be vital: several people who grasp because their sophistication tells them that here is a direction their machinery is admirably suited to travel in, and at least one who is here because he is unable to do anything else, the man with an honest germ of an idea. Monk fits neatly into the latter category; not a virtuoso, but a creator. Well, what is his product? It is something quite fragile and intangible, like the quality in the stories of Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein.
In fact, there have been many times when Monk has offended delicate ears with his pianistic assertion that a theme is a theme.
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The identity of a tune is like the identity of a word—it remains itself only as long as it is scrupulously kept in its proper place, with its proper emphasis; a great many ingredients go into recognition of either one. Because of it, he is a provocative musician, one with whom other musicians play well—sometimes better than they ever have. Recognizing that he had something beyond a reputation to offer, Blue Note Records, a firm of almost suicidal integrity, decided to take the plunged and make some records with him. The idea bore fruit in more ways than one, because they immediately discovered a whole uneaten side of the evil apple which is bebop—young musicians, without reputation, who were following the avant-garde Gillespie and Parker circles, and bringing with them something of their own.
Alfred and Lorraine Lion and Frank Wolff were, for a time, father, brother, moral support and employment agency for Thelonious and his crew, and there were some fantastically messed-up moments for all parties during the time the records were being cut. That was a perfect unit, unlike any other, before or since; they played no tunes but their own, in no way but their own; they did more rhythmically, than any musical group I ever heard anywhere; and they kept improving until the inevitable break-up came, after too short a time.
Monk is likely to be as jarring a departure from Dizzy Gillespie as Dizzy is from Louis, and yet he may hit you right away. An open ear is a wonderful thing.
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Reproduced in The Thelonious Monk Reader. Edited by Rob van der Bliek. New York: Oxford University Press, , pp. This feature article in form of a promotional article will not be enough to convince potential buyers, and at the end of the year, after a final release of which we were not able to find a review :. La formation comprend Sahib Sahib [sic] as , Milt Jackson vib. The group included Sahib Sahib [sic] as , Milt Jackson vib. Is it better to play cool, or bar blues tunes? Both, apart from specific local content, had news and reviews of records imported from the USA:.
It is even said that his influence has been dominant, and that his contributions largely determine the leanings of this "New Sound. Thelonious Sphere Monk was born in in New York [sic] into a family where no other members are musicians. Monk began experimenting with harmony and rhythm in a quartet that would have Keg Purnell for its drummer; this was in Despite the importance Monk has been given by the New School of Jazz and its musicians in particular , he has not the fame of a Parker or a Gillespie.
This is probably because his qualities as a performer are not on the same scale as his boundless imagination. There are reports, also, of his proverbial modesty, and a way of life that is incompatible with the exigencies to which a star is submitted: it is said that he can do without sleep for a week, even if it means sleeping three days and three nights when he succeeds in tearing himself away from the keyboard. The piano solos are rare and you will find the review of these titles in the French part of this issue. So now I come to the series of recordings that Blue Note has released under Thelonious Monk's own name, and which finally allow us to hear him under good conditions.
These records show us a musician who is original to the extreme, firstly by his arrhythmia, more marked than with any other pianist, and then by his seemingly constant concern to astonish the listener; this search for the unexpected that is dear to the Be Bop style is pushed to the extreme in his playing. Monk seems to take an elegant pleasure in hesitating, both in the rhythm and in the harmony; his solos exude an unhealthy impression.
The systematic use of harmonics far from the fundamental results in agreeable, often inspired findings, but this sometimes takes him into a melodic deadlock. Thanks to his rhythmical variations he manages to keep his footing while waiting for a way out that is often no more than a timely return to a more traditional piano style, as is the case on "Thelonious.
Instead of a single note, he sometimes chooses little motifs that he repeats to varying degrees "In Walked Bud". His playing is simple, his style sober and sparing; he makes very little use of chords and concentrates his full attention on a right-hand style that is a single melodic line. Despite his audacity in this, Monk uses harmonic structures that are absolutely logical, relatively simple hypotheses, and the whole tone system dear to Debussy, which he applies with pertinence. Most of these pieces are Monk compositions while the label attributes the paternity of "In Walked Bud" to him, one easily recognizes "Blue Skies".
He is the author [sic] of several well-known pieces—namely "Emanon" an anagram of No Name , "52nd Street Theme" another of Dizzy's recordings — and he wrote the harmonies of "Dynamo A. It is difficult to measure the contribution that Thelonious Monk has made to the New School of Jazz; he obviously relates to it by favouring the new, but his imagination seems to have taken him further than other adepts of the "new sound. The years to come will allow us to judge whether these records will have influence, as Monk says he hopes; he and the young American musicians will attract new disciples.
It's been said that in recording Monk, Alfred Lion was committing financial suicide. I really hope there's no truth in that, and I salute the valorous and enterprising Alfred, who has shown no hesitation in playing a card that is certainly not very commercial, but oh, how thrilling for jazz fans. In a previous "Jazz-Hot" we were told many things about the weird and fantastic Thelonious and his music; these records constitute an excellent illustration of the article in question.
The different soloists around him are not great stars but we'd be wrong to underestimate the work of Idrees Sulieman on trumpet and Danny Quebec on alto. On all these sides, Blakey and Gene Ramey, the bassist, provide very meaty support, although it is sometimes a little noisy. I like the theme and the Surrealist title of "Suburban Eyes", and the solo by Monk, who moves away from it in a manner that is really stupefying, and also his solo on the other side, where Monk constructs his whole solo around one note that he reaches in a hundred different ways, and then moves away from it before coming back to it, leaving his left hand to take care of supplying its colour.
Pleasant ballads, given a lift by the intriguing accompaniment of Monk's quartet, into which Milt Jackson throws a clear note. Monk's solo on "Should" has an amiable ingenuity. Allen Eager, sans doute. The trumpeter indeed seems to be Navarro, but the second tenor is more difficult to identify.
Probably Allen Eager. No matter, as the solos are good and the accompaniment of Kenny Clarke particularly brilliant. Monk's playing, swaying along with bizarrely struck chords here and there, with harmonies that are prodigiously disconcerting, is interesting enough, but rather hard to swallow. The visual representation of Monk's music gives you the impression of walking into a painting by de Chirico. This is one anthology that would do well to be in every modern jazz fan's record library. We've already talked about these recordings in this same column, issued as 78rpm records.
Let's take advantage of their reissue on LP to emphasize the considerable interest that they represent. Monk, whose technical possibilities are strongly limited, has created a style for himself whose attraction lies entirely in the intriguing harmonic modifications, the tonal subtleties, the unexpected articulation of his phrasing, and the general line of his improvising. His playing, at first sight disconcerting, turns out to be very endearing.
The ensembles surrounding him here have merit, particularly in the impeccable manner the rhythms are kept: present here are characters like Art Blakey, Gene Ramey etc. On some pieces Milt Jackson gets along splendidly with Monk: the "common spirit" is in action. The themes, most of them excellent, are all by Monk. We are happy to announce that the 3rd Salon du Jazz will take place in Paris in May with an entirely new format.
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Here you will be able to find all the information you want in due course…. While the season proper is perhaps not on the same scale as its predecessors, on the other hand the shows planned over these eight days, with several American groups participating, will be worthy of previous Jazz Festivals….
Peytavin for his letter. Manifestations artistiques. The 3rd Jazz Fair will stand out from previous editions, as does every industrial and commercial exhibition by the way, due to its exceptional appearance. All the stands will be decorated based on a single theme: the decor is inspired by New Orleans' French Quarter. The two previous Fairs had proved not only the interest but also the necessity that lies in such an event, both artistically and from an industrial and commercial standpoint.
Indeed, it gives an opportunity to musicians, and music professionals whether manufacturers or distributors, to get together to appreciate the latest technical perfections, as well as the most recent new developments in their field. This exhibition of the greatest interest to the amateur or professional musician allows the latter to make his own choice in full knowledge of the facts, since here the entire production is submitted to his judgment. We all know the prestige that is enjoyed worldwide by instruments made in France.
And so all the great brands are present in this Fair. As for records, which play such an important role in the illustration of jazz music, they are represented brilliantly. All the record companies, whose interest in this music is on the increase, will be there. And some of these labels will even be making a particular effort because fans at the Fair will be able to obtain recordings that have not been released until now.
Thanks to its size and spectacular presentation, this exhibition will also attract the public and so contribute to make jazz music better known and, consequently, develop the industries and commerce with which it has ties. Artistic events. All the events at the 3rd Jazz Fair will take place inside the Salle Pleyel setting. Several French ensembles are also planned. The semi-finals of the Amateur Orchestras Tournament will take place on the mornings of June 5 and 6. On weekdays, films will be screened in the morning. After the concerts have finished a large club will allow fans to hear the musicians in a different atmosphere.
This means they will not have to run all over Paris in search of problematic jam sessions. Numerous group-visits, made easier by the Whitsun holidays, have been organized, with visitors coming from abroad as well as the provinces. Details of the definitive list of the American, European and French artists called on to take part in the different manifestations planned, as well as the days and times of their appearances, will be given later in the press, particularly in: Le Figaro and in Jazz-Hot in May In this context a special issue of J.
The Organising Committee reserves the right to modify the order of the various manifestations all changes will appear in the press in due course. Johnson, C. Tous vous diront quelle admiration enthousiaste ils ont pour lui. Ne prenons pour exemple que le cas de Clifford Brown. Le style de Monk est anti-commercial, disions-nous. Mais, sous les doigts de Monk, elles restent neuves. Prisonniers de quelques formules, ils deviennent rapidement lassants.
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Jerry Newman, the man known for the "Charlie Christian Memorial Albums", has this document in his possession, a recording that would be worth publishing given how astounding it is to hear everything that hundreds of musicians would put to use a few years later: the way the left hand played, the sequences, melodic variations, rhythmic findings That night, Thelonious Monk was no doubt visited by the creative spirit, as he liked his chorus so much that he would always ask Jerry Newman if he could listen to it again, having never yet, he said, "heard anyone play piano like that.
Did Monk suspect at the time how important his finds were? Probably not, no more than drummer Kenny Clarke, who was assisting him every night in Joe Guy's group. Both of them, however, launched the revival in rhythm and harmony that jazz music experienced in On that subject, it's hair-raising to hear the contributions of Kenny and Thelonious in the midst of those jam sessions where they found themselves in the company of people like Joe Guy or Al Sears Monk began playing the piano at the age of 11, learning alone without the help of a teacher.
A little while later he became the organist in a church for two years. Thelonious points out that he doesn't know if that helped him with the piano or the contrary And, he says, "I was so tired of the whole chords in church music that I needed to hear something else. That's why I invented new melodies with chords nobody had heard before, with rhythms that just came freely without me thinking about it We know what the result of that was. And, in around , Monk taught a lot of things to Dizzy Gillespie, who transmitted them later to his first young partners such as George Wallington, Milt Jackson, etc.
It's also a known fact that all the young jazzmen were crowding into Minton's in the years to hear the pioneers of modern music who were there. The latter would also go over to Monk's house every day, and Thelonious says that, "If Bud was more talkative he could tell us everything he learned there. Ask all the modern musicians, whatever their ages and styles. Ask Gillespie or B. They'll all tell you how much enthusiasm and admiration they have for him. So why isn't the name of Monk more widespread among the public?
Why, too, isn't he more appreciated in Europe by the musicians themselves? Because his music is as anti-commercial as it is difficult to appreciate on a first hearing. American critics have yet again shown a total lack of understanding with regard to this incomparable creator. Monk has never received even the commonest publicity. And that, it has to be said, is not foreign to the colour of his skin.
Because no matter what people say, while black people in the United States have used force to conquer certain rights, racism is still very much alive at the back of some minds. Just take the case of Clifford Brown as an example. He is the best trumpeter at the moment. We were saying that Monk's style is anti-commercial. Indeed, it's as "closed" to the public as Shearing's style is wide open. While this English musician plays music that's nicely "wrapped up," that of Monk is hard.
Shearing's rhythm concepts are as linear and monotonous as those of Thelonious are lively and varied. You can compare Shearing's music to a Technicolor Hollywood production, with all the loss of flavour you could want. The music of Monk, on the contrary, is that of a powerful artist. The former is pretty, the latter is beautiful. The discoveries in harmony and rhythm that Monk made almost fifteen years ago by now , have been partly assimilated and you might even say that today they've become standardized.
But beneath the fingers of Monk they remain new. For Thelonious makes use of original inversions and, especially in rhythm, he has clearly remained the musician with the most audacity. His phrases bristle with accents that are most uncommon, and the most unexpected. This is probably the reason why his playing beams out so intensely. He hasn't enough technique to be able to communicate all he has to say to everybody, but I've always been wonderfully impressed by his perfect sense of time.
Thelonious obviously doesn't have a technique on the same scale as his talent. He himself admits to being too lazy to work on his instrument, and perhaps it's better that way, because if Monk had been given classical fingering he probably wouldn't have had that indescribable manner in which he hits the note.
Teddy Wilson doesn't talk about the sound of Thelonious, but we have to insist on it because it's so beautiful. Certainly it's one of the most moving, particularly when heard directly, as most records render sound badly. The trio album for Prestige is badly recorded and the pressings are mediocre, causing the piano to sound strangely "cracked. Incidentally, in a few weeks the French public will have the chance to appreciate the sound of Monk as much as his playing: this time, the stage at Salle Pleyel, where numerous great soloists have appeared, will this time see "one of the most powerful personalities in jazz" whose style will doubtless "get across" to the audience because of its freshness.
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Because Thelonious, whether in a studio or a club, is no longer the same man once he sits down at the piano. As withdrawn as he was calm and lazy before, he seems to enter a trance right from the very first notes, humming and "living" everything he plays. His work is at the same time complex and wild, and once you are familiar with it you can observe everything that today's jazzmen owe him. Just think: he wrote 'Off Minor" in … And we know how prolific T. Monk is as a composer. It is highly regrettable that Thelonious hasn't recorded a solo version of it, rather than the quintet recording in which, as we've seen, the trumpeter and the alto player are rather mediocre.
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Among his best works we can also mention 'Ruby My Dear' and 'Reflections. Above all, when it comes to swing he's a man without peer. The result of all those elements is that the most "advanced" progressive musicians are still surpassed by Monk. As prisoners of various formulae they are rapidly becoming tiresome. Listening to records by Thelonious, on the contrary, one can always discover some new detail, some find, that has escaped previous listening, so rich in creative gifts is this great musician. We can wish for him that his visit to Europe gives him the place he deserves: that of one of the most important innovators, and one of the most original pianists.
To my great shame I have to confess that until then I hadn't understood his music; and yet it's the basis of everything. Whether you like Monk or not, you have to admit that harmonically, and in his use of his left hand, he is the founder of today's piano style. In fact there are two basic personalities: Lester and Monk. Their combined influences have given us Parker, Bud Powell, etc…. It is difficult to know how, where and when the Renauds met Thelonious Monk, as Henri Renaud gave imprecise and contradictory information in interviews many years later, but it was definitely early on at the beginning of their stay, as proved by the photo taken at Birdland with Art Blakey and Duke Jordan that illustrates the article that Jazz-Hot published in its February issue; it was probably taken on Monday, January 4, Jordan , Thelonious Monk Quintet S.
So that's Birdland. Rollins, Willie Jones, dm …. Thelonious is accompanied on drums by Willie Jones, a young drummer in the Blakey tradition despite his rather personal style, notably in the force behind his drum hits and the spirit of his solos, which have a savagery that really evokes African rhythms…. My wife and I were the only whites there, in a crowd of young black people who were dancing. Which is proof, if that is still necessary, that you can dance to the music of Monk. I saw him a lot in I often went over to his home and my wife and I had even arranged for him to come to the Festival de Paris [Salon du Jazz, or Jazz Fair] that same year….
Remember that Jazz Selection had published his first Blue Note records in , records that had no success at all with the critics, no more than his performance in Pleyel where he'd played magnificently the recordings made during the radio broadcasts from the Festival show this well. Let me tell you that his behaviour onstage, judged anti-commercial at the time, would 'get across' to the public now and would no doubt be qualified today as original.
Ingrand, J. Applaudissons donc les efforts des organisateurs. Signalons enfin que la R. Belgique , Sarrebruck, la B. Ce dernier remplace le trompette Chet Baker. Now, finally, we come to the most newsworthy event of these past two years in jazz circles: the 3rd Jazz Fair. Without a break, some of the most famous French and foreign musicians will make themselves heard from June 1st to 7th at the Salle Pleyel. In the hall of this imposing concert venue will be the Fair itself, reserved exclusively for the exhibitors: publishers, record companies and instrument makers, an exhibition of previously unseen paintings and photographs, etc These stands, designed so as to recall a street in New Orleans, have entailed the use of some 3, square meters of plywood for its construction.
But jazz lovers needn't worry: despite the setting, they'll be able to hear 'primitive' jazz as well as 'advanced' jazz. Because it's here in this club that Bobby Forest will be presenting, from 4 p. In the course of this event, to which all jazz lovers are invited, the full Academy will be announcing the name of the musician who will receive the Django Reinhardt Prize rewarding the Best French Soloist of the Year.
So let's applaud the efforts of the organizers. These efforts will allow these brilliant musicians to play the music they love without the slightest concessions. As at every Festival, we're happy to note first-time participants from various first-rate European bands. The Sudwestfunk is sending Kurt Edelhagen's orchestra, considered by many to be the best big band in Europe, a technically perfect ensemble that is certainly appreciated.
Max Bruel, Lars Gullin's Danish rival, will lead one of the best Scandinavian bands and represent Denmark here for the first time. Note that for the first time—on an exchange basis—a French orchestra, the one led by Michel Attenoux, will go to London to give a concert on June 7. From Sweden, an amateur band will be taking part in the final rounds of the Amateur Tournament. Finally, the R. Belgium , Radio Sarrebruck, the B. The American participants will naturally be the most awaited. The latter musicians will no doubt be attracting less attention than the three stars in this series of events: Gerry Mulligan, Thelonious Monk and Jonah Jones.
The latter is the replacement for trumpeter Chet Baker. Leading groups with advanced formats, Gerry Mulligan is the musician who has revolutionized the jazz world over previous months. As a soloist, arranger, composer and leader, it's a good bet that the public will be thrilled by his many qualities. Jonah Jones can be classified in that category of talented musicians who have never asserted their authority due to a lack of publicity.
And yet he possesses several assets often envied by other soloists sometimes more known to the public. His beautiful sound, his powerful attack, his many ideas, all of it forms part of his delectable playing. To resume, something for all tastes, as you can see, and I'm convinced that the Third Jazz Fair will be the subject of all our attention for a long time.
Blue Monk: Un Portrait de Thelonious. Arles: Actes Sud, , p. A tall black man with a beret screwed down over his ears was in the middle of a conversation with the concierge, who didn't speak a single word of English. He explained that he'd had his New York address and was very impatient to meet him.
Having recognized Monk completely by chance, we climbed the stairs that would take us to Fats, while learning from Monk that he'd arrived in Paris that very morning to play at the Festival, and also that they had lined up a French rhythm section for him. I was a very long way from thinking that this rhythm section would be me!
He often used to invite me to lunch or dinner, with a friend of mine, and so one day I arrived, it was early June, I turned up and saw a big black guy smoking a narghileh [hookah]…. He said: —Nice, nice, I'd like to see this, I'd like to see that…. Final program published in Jazz-Hot of the month of June, and booklet sold during the concerts:.
Jonah Jones, Gerry Mulligan and Thelonious Monk, who have come specially from the United States to be part of the Jazz Fair that takes place from today until June 7 at the Salle Pleyel, constitute the "lead team" among the different musicians expected for this festival. Our photographer surprised them at one of the Fair's stands representing a boutique in the old French quarter of New Orleans: in fact this colourful, picturesque decor is the theme forming the basis of the whole exhibition. We remind you that for the occasion Le Figaro is publishing a special issue with the programme of the concerts and distributed for free at the Fair and at the Figaro, and available to provincial readers on demand.
Quel regret que Monk ne soit pas comme tout le monde! Milt Jackson Vogue L. Combat , mardi 1 juin , p. The Jazz Fair organizers have reserved a pleasant surprise for a few fervent admirers of modern jazz: Thelonious Monk is coming to introduce himself to French audiences. How is this audience going to react on hearing the music of this artist, such an unusual one? There are in fact few true admirers of Monk. Then there's the mass of jazz fans, those who don't know Monk and who in theory adopt the impressions of the other faction. By that you'll easily understand that Monk's admirers aren't huge in number.
And since these admirers aren't seeking to demonstrate his talent, Monk remains the little-known artist he is in France today. Without setting him up as a genius who has been misunderstood, I'm convinced that Monk's talent hasn't received the consecration it deserves.
Whilst those qualities in the purely musical domain are questionable for some people, they are complete in the more reserved domain of a form of expression entirely given over to poetry. Monk is not a virtuoso but a creator. He is part of a framework that goes beyond jazz, and to me it appears that, like Ellington, he is constructing an immaterial world.
This is as true for Monk as it is for Ellington, and for them jazz is not the goal but the means to arrive at something fragile that is impalpable for an expression that is essentially surrealistic.
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How sorry we are that Monk isn't like everybody! He lacks the sense of opportunity at the service of an astute imagination, one that a Dizzy Gillespie managed to exploit by playing on the outward bizarreness of the bop school. And yet it does seem that we find ourselves in the presence of the veritable creator of be-bop. Monk hasn't succeeded in having this music accepted thanks to his own hand, but he has handed the torch over to other musicians.
Doesn't the source of that failure lie with the non-conformist attitude that Monk displays with so much indifference? I can't find a better way to demonstrate that state of mind than by means of this anecdote reported by Paul Bacon Jazz-Hot , saying more or less:. He started by fiddling with the piano a little, and finally noticed that the pedal post was loose.
He sat down anyway, but after a few seconds he began a series of exercises that appeared strange to say the least: was he tying his shoelaces, or was he signaling to someone standing over the piano? He was pulling at the pedal post with all his strength, first hitting it with his right hand, from time to time playing a chord, and then applying both hands: there was a slight crack, a ripping sound, and off came the whole works, which Monk tossed carelessly aside before he calmly resumed playing.
Don't you think there's a chance of believing we're dealing with a Chico Marx if it takes his fancy to play tricks on us like that in addition to his music? To tell the truth, I think the concert will be perfect and you'll be seduced, especially if you want to follow my advice: listen to Monk and forget everything you know about jazz; listen to Monk and you'll hear a man who listens to himself. Listen and judge for yourself:. Thelonious Monk! First and most accurate report of the evening published four days after the event:.
Thelonious Monk is a tall, beards Negro, with a leisurely gait. The resulting sounds are hard to assess. His playing is hammy, fascinating, trite—and interesting. It is sometimes startling, sometimes banal, sometimes both together. His right hand stabs at the keyboard in a Chico Marx manner, apparently without flexibility. He hits with a finger and the rest of the hand arches stiffly like a fan. He hammers unrelated chords, while his feet writhe and twist on the floor.
His right foot hits the pedal, misses, slips off; it poises, and bangs down sometimes on the pedal, often on the floor. His left foot drags back and forth as though tortured. An elbowed chord sounds natural in its surroundings. Between numbers, he is the shambling, forgetful, impish commentator. Then, in the middle of a number, he stands up and halts the rhythm.
He looks at the angel faced bassist in mock astonishment and signals to the drummer to continue. By the normal criterion of jazz he is inferior to Martial Solal, but there may be minds attuned to his weird, Morse-like message. It is true that he hadn't had time to rehearse with the rhythm section, and that his playing is always disconcerting for the most initiated. Third and confused report of the evening published two years after the event:. A round of premature applause died away. Promoter Charles Delaunay retired from the stage.
The heavy, green plush curtains of the Salle Pleyel slowly eddied back to their bases, revealing first a stationary drummer, then a stationary bass player—then an empty piano-stool. Some seconds of delay elapsed before the object of the audience's sceptical handclap ambled into view.
He came, smiling inanely, half bowing, a tall Negro dressed in a loose-fitting, medium-blue suit, sky-blue socks and shirt, taking long, seemingly tiring steps towards the microphone. Again the full smile as he surveyed the audience, a smile which conveyed no meaning. Again those long, ponderous steps as he trekked back to the piano. He sat, fingers on the keys, meditating, the French bassist and drummer awaiting their cue. Then he arose and retraced the long journey to the microphone. The audience, normally know for their turbulent behavior, murmured uneasy. The performer still grinned.
Thelonious was in action. Fingers poised stiffly, stabbing rather than touching the keys, legs trashing wildly beneath the piano, searching for the pedal, missing it, banging the floor, body swaying, grunting audibly, arms stretching and bending as he felt for unusual chords, all but disguising the theme. At the end of the second chorus he suddenly got up from the piano and pointed one large, banana-like finger at Jean-Louis Viale, the young French drummer.
The tense, white faces of the two supporting musicians showed that they had long since abandoned all hope of a logical performance. Viale, recovering from this new shock, commenced a percussion solo, appearing somewhat relived to be musically free from the comedy which had been taking place at the piano.
The large finger remained pointed at him, the sly-blue socks and suede shoed jogged rhythmically as the invention of the solo unfolded, the dark face had swiveled back to the audience and still grinned superfluously. Then, as Viale drew to a conclusion, he retreated once more to the keyboard, the playing becoming even more weird, the legs thrashing more wildly, the grunting increasing; he struck chords with his elbow, and at one point thrust his hand into the piano and flicked the hammers onto the strings.
Flash bulbs exploded. Even the lay press was excited by this spectacle…. Arles: Actes Sud, , pp. Horricks, Jazz Monthly , avril , pp. So naturally, saying the band was a real triumph is way below the truth. Everyone was delirious! Difficult to take the stage after Claude. All the more since Monk's music, already so disconcerting for even his admirers and some of them were there, too had absolutely nothing going for it with that audience even his name was unknown to them and they'd only gone inside to hear Luter.
Back in the wings at Pleyel, Monk was already 'smashed' and behaving very mysteriously, which did nothing to straighten things out. On top of this, he'd been weaned off drugs in the United States and the effect of what he'd taken was probably ten times stronger. We finally went onstage. Monk settled down at the piano and started playing; he had an amazing stare. Then after a good half-hour, without warning, he leapt up from his stool and, with a vacant look in his eye, pointed a vengeful, unwavering finger at Jean-Louis Viale, who wondered what he'd done to deserve it.
Caught off-guard and at a loss for what to do, he immediately launched into a brilliant solo. At this, Monk, who looked furious, left the stage and downed a scotch in one gulp, before serenely returning to the piano to finish the piece they were playing, as if this way of doing things was their normal practise. Shortly after, in his dressing-room, he explained that when he gets up it means that the concert's over: you have to take a bow and leave.
Jean-Louis couldn't get over it; he hadn't seen anything like it before! Without a murmur he walked out for good. So there we were, without a drummer, for the second part of the concert. It was certainly a flop as a concert, but it didn't matter much: after Claude Luter had played that night, there was nothing left to say.
It goes without saying that responsibility for what he says is entirely his own, but we feel it's important to quote him because his words are a good indication of the gulf between Monk and his audience that could exist at that time.