The amazing line-up of musicians appearing in the big band included: Grammy Award winning Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), Freddie Hendrix (trumpet), Ryan Kisor (trumpet), Shaun Jones (trumpet), Marcus Printup (trumpet), Vincent R. Gardner (trombone), Eliot Mason (trombone), Chris Crenshaw (trombone), Sherman Irby (saxophones), Ted Nash, (alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet), Walter Blanding (tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet), Victor Goines (tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet), Paul Nedzela (baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, Dan Nimmer (piano), Carlos Henriques (bass) and Ali Jackson (drums).
Favorite tunes performed by JLCO included: "Light Blue," "Epistrophy," "We See," and " Criss Cross." JLCO well improvised interpretations of Monk’s music was quite daring and full of delightful surprises.
JLCO came out swinging on "Criss Cross" which was fused with Latin elements. This piece was uniquely performed in three bar phrases. "Criss Cross" was arranged by jazz drummer Ali Jackson, a force to be reckoned with. Jackson provided polished rhythms throughout the piece. His inventive solo’s provided colorful tone quality that moved him beyond the role as timekeeper.
In the same composition, Victor Goines provided a riveting solo on the saxophone. His lines swing gracefully. Goines performed with a precise touch and impeccable sense of tempo as he gradually glided from one note to another.
"Coltrane said that when you are playing with Monk sometimes it feels like you are falling into an elevator shaft," quoted Marsalis. He continued, "Monk’s music is logical. "Superlogical," Marsalis emphasized.
Indeed. And evidently mastered by stellar musicians who performed composition after composition with the highest standards. With the bass, piano and drums skillful accompaniment, we experienced an inventive take on the music of Monk.
The JLCO tour continues throughout the month of March and will perform in Englewood, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; and Morristown, NJ.