John Beasley - Monk’estra Vol. 1: proving once again the extraordinary resilience of Monk’s legacy

Monk'estra Vol. 1
    
Artist: John Beasley
Genre: Jazz
Label: Mack Avenue

LA pianist and musical director John Beasley is the sort of musician who’ll never be short of paid work.

Over the years, the 55-year-old son and grandson of professional musicians has answered the phone to everyone from Miles Davis and Steely Dan to American Idol and The Spice Girls.

But left to his own devices – always the kindest way to treat musicians – he likes to produce charts for his 15-piece ensemble of fellow hired guns, dedicated to the music of Thelonious Monk.

Beasely’s up-beat refashionings of tunes such as Epistrophy, Little Rootie Tootie and Ask Me Now are consummate displays of the arranger’s art, setting up some fine solo work, and proving once again the extraordinary resilience of Monk’s legacy.

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin

Cormac Larkin, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a musician, writer and director