Kubic’s MonkACT ***
Some 60 years after it was written, the music of pianist Thelonious Monk continues to baffle and beguile. With its idiosyncratic harmonies and lopsided grooves, Monk’s music is regarded as one of the sternest tests of the improviser’s art, and has provided successive generations with a link between be-bop and the avant-garde. Here, French alto saxophonist Pierrick Pédron follows up last year’s eclectically brilliant Cheerleaders with a much more hardcore jazz album of nothing but Monk.
With no piano for harmonic reference – just Thomas Bramerie’s bass and Franck Agulhon’s drums, and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire contributing on three tracks – Pédron proves himself an able interpreter of Skippy, We See and Evidence. All are admirably brief, condensed bursts of energy, full of the sort of spontaneity and wit of which Monk would approve.