Here are some recent additions to my Jazz library:
- Thelonious Monk: Thelonious in Action: Recorded Live at the Five Spot Café
- Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan: Two Minds
- The Gigi Gryce and Donald Bird Jazz Laboratory and the Cecil Taylor Quartet: At New Port
- Anthony Braxton: Six Monk’s Compositions
- Steve Lacy: Reflections: Steve Lacy Plays Thelonious Monk and The Straight Horn of Steve Lacy
There does appear to be a theme; mainly that my Monk phase lives on. But, besides getting hold of In Action (a live date from a brief stint with Gigi Gryce on sax), the majority of these albums are based on Monk compositions. Steve Lacy’s Reflections, for example, was one of the first albums ever dedicated to Monk compositions, recorded in 1958 before Monk had made his popular breakthrough. The second Lacy album, Straight Horn, is made up three Monk compositions, two by Cecil Taylor and one by Charlie Parker. This leads me to the rationale behind At Newport with both Gigi Gryce/Donald Bird’s group and the Cecil Taylor Quartet: Gigi Gryce, as mentioned had been a Monk sideman, and Steve Lacy plays sax here for Cecil Taylor whose style at this early stage in his career was arguably Monk-inspired.
Finally, I acquired the smooth Paul Desmond/Gerry Mulligan combo because besides being so easy and pleasant to listen to, it serves to counter-balance the angularity of the other musicians here (and to appease the wife if she suddenly wonders why I bought even more screechy Jazz).