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The Baddest Monk

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iTunes Review

While still a teenager, pianist/composer Eric Reed got a big career boost by joining Wynton Marsalis’ touring band. Soon after, he recorded his first solo effort, 1990’s Soldier’s Hymn. On 2012’s The Baddest Monk, he turns his attention to interpreting the compositions of Thelonious Monk, a never-ending source of inspiration for so many musicians. (Two Reed originals, “Monk Buerre Rouge” and the title cut, are also included.) Trumpeter Etienne Charles, tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake, bassist Matt Clohesy, and drummer Henry Cole make up Reed’s band. The first track, “Rhythm-a-ning,” immediately makes it clear that The Baddest Monk will be a focused, straight-ahead take on Monk’s eccentric material. The interpretations are solid, muscular prose rather than rhapsodic poetry. One highlight is “’Round Midnight”; it features a guest appearance by Jose James, a singer equally comfortable with old standards and cutting-edge 21st-century R&B. Accompanied here by piano, James digs into the song, never leaving the blues or the church behind.

Customer Reviews

Funky Monk

Hat's off to Eric Reed and his talented backup for a stellar take on the great Monk. Reed reads Monk with a rare sophistication and provides a sterling line-up of great and lesser known tunes, with one original, the title track. Certainly not a simple retrospective (no Straight No Chaser here), this is a stirring interpretation of the standout composer. An original's take on one of America's great originals. And one that simply swings!


Born: June 21, 1970 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Pianist Eric Reed is one of a large number of talented musicians who emerged from Wynton Marsalis' bands to pursue a rewarding solo career in his own right. Born in Philadelphia in 1970, Reed's first exposure to music came through his father, a minister and local gospel singer; he began playing piano at age two and soon discovered jazz, quickly developing into a musical prodigy. He entered music school at age seven, and resisted classical training in favor of jazz, inspired early on by Dave Brubeck,...
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The Baddest Monk, Eric Reed
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