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Higher Ground by T. S. Monk

How right it is!

After recording for all the major record labels, Thelonious Sphere Monk, Jr., has broken loose and is walking on Higher Ground, with this CD, the first release on his own worldwide record company.

Caution! Highly Addictive! Excellence at its best.

Hot horns, smooth sounds, and cool connections to the audience signify this tight nine-track recording, guaranteed to be in constant listening mode.

There is absolutely nothing lacking with this group of seasoned professionals who bring the very best of jazz to the listener.

Beginning with the soft, smooth, sassy trumpet of Winston Byrd, Haristocracy treads into deeper, mind blowing cool with Ray Gallon’s superb trek across the keyboard.

Girl Watchin’ is a romantic, fresh, perky walk in the park.

Miles Griffith’s distinct vocals include scathing scat, on Mosaic, backed by Monk’s pronounced percussion and daring drums. Willie Williams blows a mean clarinet, tying together all the melodies.

Ray Gallon’s Missing Line leads with gentle tones on the piano, joined by airy, thoughtful notes on flute by Bobby Porcelli, then flows into soft melody with silky harmony of the sax, filling the heart with romantic dreams. Ladera Heights, by Winston Byrd, begins with soft percussion and light piano notes but soon jumps into a riff of mellow trumpet, accompanied by resounding sax. Once is not enough with this tune. Such a vibrant mix of melodies call the listener to re-play, attempting to get every morsel offered by these creative heavy weights.

Philly Twist is a perky, upbeat, swinging tune with plenty of swinging sax and lots of bopping trumpet in the foreground. David Jackson steps into a solo on bass, giving this tune a hot beat.

Victor See Yuen combines Congas, Bongos and Brazilian percussion on Cubano Chant,< /I> while background vocals bring the listener to the heart of Latino rhythm. Byrd’s trumpet commands the listener to lean into the beat as the sexy sax of Williams carries the vibrant message of hot times in hot climates.

Craw-Daddy, takes a mysterious walk in the empty darkness of New Orleans’ city streets, with a little stretch of blues pouring from the trumpet of Byrd. Never knowing what’s around the corner keeps the audience awaiting the next note in eager anticipation.

A compilation of raw, energized talent keeps the listener attuned waiting for more, during Millennium Dance, as it transports listeners to modern, inner city blues with a little rebel sophistication coupled with an upbeat rhythm.

Though listed as Straight Ahead, this album has something for everyone. As Monk would say, 'it's cross talk.'

This fantastic CD is one to share with friends and family.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: T. S. Monk
  • CD Title: Higher Ground
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: T.S. Monk
  • Rating: Five Stars
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