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New Music: MONK'estra Vol 1 By John Beasley


John Beasley is a pianist, composer and arranger who reintroduces the world to Thelonius Sphere Monk through The MONK'estra, a 15 piece Big Band.  Big Bands have not ceased to exist as a contemporary force, as illustrated by MONK'estra Vol 1, on Mack Avenue Records.  Beasley's band re-imagines Monk's music with off beat melodies, strange beauty and unbounded swing.  Beasley has worked with Miles Davis, Dianne Reeves, Freddie Hubbard and Steely Dan.  Monk's music for a Big Band is not a new idea, but John's vision with this band captures contemporary harmonies and relentless grooves.   The sound becomes contagious for lovers of Big Band music. The voice of Thelonius is added on the track of" Oska T" giving it some authenticity for those who embrace the Jazz legend.   MONK'estra Vol 1 is  a must listen for the inquiring Jazz listener.  You can hear cuts from this record on Jazz 91.9 WCLK in particular during Jazz Tones, Sundays from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. This Sunday at 4pm I will talk live with John Beasley about this project.

More information about MONK'estra can be found here.

Jay Edwards is a wizened veteran of Atlanta's Jazz Scene with an unforgettable voice and take on America's indigenous art form. He spent his formative years as a young man in Harlem where he listened and learned jazz from his Aunt and his cousin. As a child he babysat Billy Taylor's children at St. Mark's Grammar School.