The T.S. Monk front-line (from right):
Willie Williams, Winston Byrd, Bobby Porcelli
Monk Jr. at the Bird of Paradise
BY LARS BJÖRN
much-acclaimed bandleader and drummer T.S. Monk brought his sextet
to the Bird of Paradise for two days in November. I was fortunate to
be able to attend the late show on the seventeenth.
Monk was a solid, if unspectacular, drummer
and a very able leader. His patter between tunes set a relaxed and hip
tone to the night's proceedings. His band included several accomplished
players, but I was most impressed with tenorist Willie Williams. Williams
had his own approach to hard bop tenor, combining a driving rhythm with
a tender tone. Veteran Bobby Porcelli's facile alto sax was more anonymous
in the stylistic vein of Sonny Stitt. Trumpeter Winston Byrd was only
25 years old and also solidly in the bebop groove. His trumpet was even
bent, just like you know who!
Some of the most effective tunes of the night
were by Monk Sr.: "Think of One","Evidence" and "Round Midnight." The
latter was taken at an unusually fast medium tempo. But do not get the
idea that this is a Thelonius Monk "ghost-band." They play great arrangements
by Don Sickler and everyone gets a chance to solo. Catch them when they
come to town next time!
photograph by Lars Björn