The Microscopic Septet — Friday the Thirteenth
(Cuneiform Rune 310, 2011, CD)
by Pam Thompson, Published 2011-06-01Straight 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.
Related artist(s): The Microscopic Septet
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more