12/01/2014

Brilliant Corners

Thelonious Monk
1957

Delicate, sensitive harmonic exploration, or tedious, lethargic, meandering indulgence?


I have blogged before about my late-teenage infatuation with jazz - or, at least, my attempt to be seen liking jazz (hey, how interesting am I?) - but even then, I preferred something with a bit of life to it. Many of the albums I liked were on Blue Note, and the label has come to be associated mostly with hard bop that has more of a soulful or funky edge - such as Donald Byrd's Byrd In Hand, one of my favourites.

Despite Brilliant Corners being classified as hard bop (according to Wikipedia, anyway), this doesn't sound like it to me. It's not soulful or funky enough. I'm quite prepared to believe that there's some very clever composition and playing, but it doesn't touch me.

As Joey "The Lips" Fagan says in The Commitments (the book), "soul is from the heart, jazz is from the head". This is head music and there is no heart in it. Dull dull dull.

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