Exposé Online banner

The Microscopic Septet — Friday the Thirteenth
(Cuneiform Rune 310, 2011, CD)

by Pam Thompson, Published 2011-06-01

Friday the Thirteenth Cover artStraight ahead jazz with a flair for the avant – that’s Friday the 13th, the latest from The Microscopic Septet. This is the band’s tribute to Thelonious Monk, featuring 12 of his compositions, all arranged by The Micros. Their line-up of sax quartet, drums, bass, and piano provides a foundation for the creativity with which they approach their music. Tunes can be smoothly traditional or inventively edgy, with splashes of humor thrown in for good measure. These guys put down a solid, smooth groove where it’s right, and if a song needs a more abstract approach, so be it — a musical mosaic of bits and bobs creates perfect dissonances and patterns, tightly played. The Micros have been playing together since 1981, and you can hear it in the music; there’s a connection between band members that makes even the most complex passages sound effortless. Monk wrote many of the selections here in the 40s and 50s, and while you can hear the time period in the underlying style, the updated take shows the relevance and vibrancy of Monk’s compositions, and the infinite possibilities the jazz genre provides when it comes to interpretation. Liner notes are done by the band’s leaders, Phillip Johnston and Joel Forrester, and contain tantalizing morsels of information about the songs and the band’s take on them. This is fun jazz with an intellectual bent, satisfying on all levels.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2011 releases

Related artist(s): The Microscopic Septet

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Tim Hodgkinson - Pragma – This is a disc of difficult music since the listener must have the discipline to hear the "big picture" and not get caught in a scattering of perceived dissonant ideas. In the composer's own words:...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues