In addition to founding the long-running, highly prolific, and endlessly lovable band NRBQ, pianist Terry Adams has always had a great fondness for jazz great Thelonious Monk, having seen the man perform countless times in the 1960s. Consequently you can imagine how a proper album of Thelonious Monk interpretations was a project very long in the making.
Although all members of NRBQ play on Talk Thelonious, they play strictly a supporting role to Adams. It’s his baby, and in addition to his longtime bandmates be brings in a host of guest musicians, including saxophonist Klem Klimek and acoustic bassist Pete Toigo. As you can hear on the playful “Hornin’ In”, the coupling of Monk’s beautiful idiosyncrasy and NRBQ’s patented jammy rock ‘n’ roll feels seamless, a testament to Adams’s talent as an arranger.
“There’s an air about Monk’s music that I feel should go beyond the written parts,” Adams says in a press statement. “You can hear it on his performances even when he’s not playing. Some people don’t approach it that way. To me, the written part strongly recommends how to improvise on it, rhythmically and harmonically. The song is in a special place and the performer of it should be too.”
Talk Thelonious will be released 27 November as a two-LP set on Euclid Records and a CD on Clang! via Burnside Distribution.