UNMONK At Dizzy's Coca Cola Club
The band's interpretation of "Blue Monk" featured some amazing musical conversations between Mr. Reed and his saxist Seamus Blake also with Etienne Charles his trumpeter.
The music of piano master Thelonius Monk has inspired jazz musicians generally and pianists in particular for the past half century. In fact, Monk's classics like "Round Midnight" and "Blue Monk" are must inclusions on the playlist of every contemporary jazz band. Just as many jazz musicians measure their level of excellence by their interpretations of Monk's music.
The Unmonk quintet appearing at Dizzy's Coca Cola club on Friday, June 1st. absolutely did justice to the music of Monk. The quintet is led by accomplished jazz pianist and educator, Eric Reed and includes the truly great tenor saxist Seamus Blake together with Etienne Charles, one of the hottest trumpeters on the current jazz scene.
Matt Clohesy on bass and master drummer Henry Cole on percussion completed what’s best described as a vintage jazz cornucopia. As the band’s name "Unmonk" suggests, the music of the genius --Monk-- was featured for most of the set. Mr. Reed, a super pianist in his own right, brought all his genuine passion for Monk's music to his performance and he was able to transfer that spirit to the entire band. The band's interpretation of "Blue Monk" featured some amazing musical conversations between Mr. Reed and his saxist Seamus Blake also with Etienne Charles his trumpeter.
Since Thelonius Monk was not just only a great composer but also a master interpreter, the emphasis of the Unmonk derived from Monk’s interpretations. So that "April in Paris" was given a bluesy/classical flavor which included super riffs from trumpeter Charles and saxist Blake; "Trinkle Tinkle" featured a scintillating drum solo from master Henry Cole that almost blew the windows out; "Round Midnight", considered Monk's signature composition was given special treatment, including an extended monster solo from saxist Blake. All interpretations of course, overlaid and interwoven by the suberb, classical piano play of Eric Reed.
As a venue for listening to good jazz, Dizzy's Coca Cola club is second to none. Overlooking the beautiful serenity of Central Park the atmosphere surely lends itself to absorbing all the spiritual nourishment that can be derived from consuming great jazz. And great jazz was certainly served up in copious quantity by Eric Reed and the Unmonk Quintet.