Thursday, March 12, 2009
Monk by Peter Bernstein Trio
Peter Bernstein Trio's tribute/interpretation of jazz-great pianist Thelonious Monk caught my eye when it briefly charted at eMusic (e, A). I hit "download" and the album has proven itself to be durable. The kvetching in the user comments is predictable: pulling Monk's piano through Bernstein's guitar requires significant transformation. That's the way it is with Jazz. If you want the Thelonious Monk Ker-plunk, you'll just have to retreat to your old LPs.
A close listen reveals that Bernstein and Co. are resolutely faithful to the source, however. The slappy boisterousness might not be there, but Bernstein's mode uncovers some surprises and new delights in Monk's phrasing. Let's see: it's easy on the ears, it withstands scrutiny, and in this household it helps with the homework and brings joy to the daily grind. I daresay those are characteristics the master might approve of.