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Album Review

Bassist Buell Neidlinger (who played with everyone from Rex Stewart to Cecil Taylor and Stravinsky) and tenor saxophonist Marty Krystall have always been real sticklers when it comes to interpreting Thelonious Monk's music. They believe in playing Monk's songs with the correct melody and original chords, and not discarding the theme once the solos start. In the 1980s, they co-led the group Thelonious, which exclusively performed Monk's compositions, emphasizing the lesser-known songs. This CD has two previously unreleased performances from that era. Neidlinger and Krystall (who doubles on bass clarinet) are joined by pianist Brenton Banks and drummer Billy Osborne for six songs performed live on KCRW-FM. Krystall is the main solo star, putting plenty of emotion into his improvisations, while Neidlinger keeps the momentum flowing. The quartet digs into such numbers as "Four in One," "Monk's Mood," "Trinkle, Tinkle," and "Bye-Ya." Also on this CD are five selections (including "Thelonious," "Little Rootie Tootie," and "Skippy") from a live concert. For that engagement, Thelonious was a quintet with the co-leaders joined by trumpeter Hugh Schick, Jerry Peters on electric piano, and drummer William Jefferey. Throughout the CD, one is continually impressed by how well these musicians know the music, sounding comfortable playing over the tricky and difficult chord changes while always keeping the themes close by. All lovers of Thelonious Monk's music are advised to pick up this stimulating effort.


Born: 02 March 1936 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Throughout his career, bassist Buell Neidlinger has played such a wide variety of styles that one can only conclude he can play anything. He started out studying classical cello and also learned trumpet and piano before settling on bass. After moving to New York in 1955, Neidlinger played with Dixieland and mainstream bands and such top players as Rex Stewart, Vic Dickenson, Coleman Hawkins, and Eddie Condon. The same year he joined the Cecil Taylor Quartet, a unit that only worked sporadically during...
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Thelonious, Buell Neidlinger
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