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Published on Nov 17, 2013
A sampler of MONK'estra arrangements recorded live in concert at SFJAZZ Center (San Francisco) and the Blue Whale (Los Angeles).
"Some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory." Don Heckman, International Review of Music
MONK'estra is a 17-piece BIG modern jazz BAND. John Beasley captures the spirit of Monk's unique quirkiness, offbeat accents, punchy dissonances, in his fresh arrangements of Monk's and other classic and original compositions.
Beasley's contemporary twist incorporates Afro-Cuban rhythms, modern jazz, hip hop, big band instrumentation, stunningly atmospheric ensemble textures, powerfully driven by a propulsive rhythm section.
CONCERT REVIEW: Don Heckman, International Review of Music Beasley's arrangements...expanding and elaborating on the Monk originals...captured Monk's unique quirkiness, the offbeat accents, punchy dissonances and surprisingly soaring melodies...with stunningly atmospheric ensemble textures. His obviously extraordinary orchestrating abilities, combined with superb individual soloing from virtually every musician, resulted in a definitive display of "Big," "Modern" and "Jazz Band."
MONK'estra Big Band:: SAX Bob Sheppard, Jeff Driskill, Justo Almario, Tom Luer, Tommy Peterson
TRUMPET Bijon Watson, Willie Murillo, Ray Monterio, Brian Swartz, Gabe Johnson
TROMBONE Francisco Torres, Wendell Kelly, Steve Hughes, Ryan Dragon
BASS: Ben Williams (SF) / Rickey Minor (LA)
DRUMS: Gary Novak
KEYBOARDS/MELODICA: John Beasley
John Beasley, the one-time keyboardist for Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis, whose playing reflects a variety of generational influences, incorporating the emphatic chordal clusters of Herbie Hancock, the rhythmic quirkiness of Monk and the lush intelligence of Art Tatum into a highly refined personal voice. Los Angeles Times
John Beasley is one of the best pianists and improvisers on the jazz scene today. Beasley is a master musician, with total command of the jazz language, and his playing is always intense in both emotion and technique. All About Jazz