The three archangels of bebop piano were close friends and inspirations to one another. They were Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and Elmo Hope. Who is Elmo Hope? He was said to be Thelonious Monk's favorite jazz composer. Born St. Elmo Sylvester Hope in New York City, June 27, 1923, Hope emerged in the 1950s as a promising bop pianist and composer. Sadly, his life (and discography) was painfully brief because of heroin addiction.
Breaking to the present, New Stories, the Seattle-based trio made up of pianist Marc Seales, bassist Doug Miller and drummer John Bishop, in collaboration with trumpeter Don Sickler, bring to life the music of Hope in the same way pianist Frank Kimbrough and bassist Ben Allison have resurrected the music of like-unknown Herbie Nichols with Palmetto Record's Herbie Nichols Project.
With the support of Hope's widow, Bertha, the trio make their case for why Elmo Hope is so important. In this collection of largely original Hope compositions, New Stories demonstrates that Hope bridges the iconoclastic and idiosyncratic philosophy of Monk and the white hot, lightening flash brilliance of Powell. Hope's music is complex and melodic, seamless and integrated.
Easily the equal of Tad Dameron, Hope could arrange with the best of them. "Carving The Rock" and the beautiful ballad, "Monique" are testaments to this incandescent talent dimmed to early.