Clarence Penn

Monk: The Lost Files

origin 82674

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MUSIC REVIEW BY George W. Harris, Jazz Weekly

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Drummer Clarence Pann shows some guts by not only tackling the Thelonious Monk Songbook, but using a tenor saxist (Chad Lefkowitz-Brown) that sounds alarmingly like Monk teammate Charles Rouse. Except for the use of a Rhodes keyboard by Gerald Clayton on "I Mean You", the rest of the songs are with an acoustic piano, so you can't help but make comparisons with the original. "I Mean You" comes off the best, as it's the most variant, and Penn's own "Solato's Blues" closes the disc with an original sound. The mix of electric and acoustic bass provided by Yasushi Nakamura keeps you on your toes. Penn does some clever interplay with pianist supreme Donald Vega on "Bemsha Swing" and "Evidence" is arranged through a Waring blender. "Hackensack" gets a bit angular, but when the songs are that different from the original, why not do what the proto-boppers did and use the same chords with a different melody and call it something new?






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