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Gig calendar

May2

Virtual Jukebox Orchestra

Westin St Francis Hotel, 335 Powell St, San Francisco, CA

Private Event

May5

We Are Coral, the musical

Park School, Mill Valley, CA

This performance is just for the school community of students & staff.

Each of these tracks features a Thelonious Sphere Monk composition. However, the homage lends a flavorful, non-52nd street approach to Monk's quintet and solo piano works mainly due to the dueling trombones of Max Perkoff and Roswell Rudd. Rudd, known for his gritty, slippery slike work with Archie Shepp in the 1960's, does not disappoint on this record as he demonstrates remarkable flexibility of range and throaty deviations from the trombone status quo. In fact, Rudd proves to be a dynamic, one-of-a-kind performer. If a fresh approach is what each instrumentalist needs, that inspiration can be found here! Likewise, the younger Perkoff finds himself firmly rooted in the avant-garde, equipped to cross slikdes in a post-bop skirmish while still ably navigating the more standard approach. The two embark on a number of occasions into plunger solos and the use of other muted textures that benefit the listener by adding coloring as well as a new voice to both melody and solo sections. The final two tracks of the disc, which utilize a traditional improvisatory approach, include the classics "I Mean You" and "Blue Monk," a tune that captures the musical imagery of the arrangements a la Jay and Kai. Thelonious Monk fans will welcome the arrangements in the more traditional vein as well as those more aggressive, slippery tracks that include many of his great works such as "Friday the Thirteenth" and "Little Rootie Tootie." And, what clebration of the eccentric pianist is complete without a performance of "Round Midnight?" Monk's Trio is a fine group backing two remarkable trombonists in their adventure into the more avant-garde style of trombone improvisation. With some edgy arrangements and new ideas, MONKS BONES sets itself apart from the pack in any jazz trombone CD collection. ” - Cory Cunningham

— International Trombone Association Journa

(You can hear this review most easily by clicking on Video & Audio to your right.) The big jazz record of 2005 was a concert recording by Thelonious Monk, who’d died in 1982. Before his death, few jazz musicians specialized in playing his tunes, although there were exceptions like Steve Lacy and Roswell Rudd. Since Monk passed, bands on several continents have dedicated themselves to playing his music. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a new CD by California’s Monk’s Music Trio, joined by a couple of guests. The Bay Area pianist Si Perkoff knew Thelonious Monk and knows plenty of his tunes. Five or six years ago drummer Chuck Bernstein invited him to join a trio devoted to playing Monk. That was a good idea. Sometimes the pianist’s son, trombonist Max Perkoff would guest with the trio, and then Bernstein had the idea to pair him up with another slide trombonist, the legendary—make that beloved—Roswell Rudd. That was a very good idea. Rudd has played in a few Monk specialty bands going back to the early 60s, and enjoys romping with other trombones. So he took to this lineup like a duck to plum sauce. Two trombones—that’ll wake anybody up. Especially when they schmear one note up against one right next to it, the way Monk would on piano. I like the previous albums by Monk’s Music Trio, but “Monk’s Bones” leaves ’em in the dust. Bass player Sam Bevan is new to the band, but everybody knows the repertoire so well, they know just how to stay in or out of each other’s way. And you can always tell trombonists apart when Rudd is one of them—he’s always the bigger extravert. Max Perkoff favors a fairly straightforward tone; the integrity of his lines is what counts. Rudd’s improvising is frowsier, often colored by various mutes, to give a more vocalized sound, as in Duke Ellington’s band. Monk’s tune “Little Rootie Tootie.” Another reason Roswell Rudd has made some great records, aside from the way he plays, is the way he treats the musicians he works with. Rudd is so warm, enthusiastic and committed, so obviously knocked out by what they’re playing, they can’t help feeling motivated. Thelonious Monk’s compositions are central to the jazz tradition now, but only a couple of decades ago, many musicians found his pieces hard to play. Typically they’d either imitate Monk and his band, playing not too many notes, or they treated his tunes like any other excuse to run their horns. On the CD “Monk’s Bones” you hear five players who really understand the material and play it their own way—some friendly Monkish piano plinks aside. The quintet get the logic of Monk’s pieces, literally get into the swing of them. In the end that’s way more important than how few or many notes they play.” - Kevin Whitehead

"Fresh Air" on National Public Radio

The music of Thelonious Monk has been constructed, reconstructed and deconstructed over the years. Some players have tried to ape him, which is quite natural, but not necessarily successful. Others have filtered his music through their own prisms and have succeeded in introducing different constructs. Among the latter group are Chuck Bernstein, Si Perkoff, and Sam Bevan--known as Monk’s Music Trio, a name that makes their reason for their being quite clear. On this, their third outing, they bring in trombonists Roswell Rudd and Max Perkoff, the gentlemen responsible for Monk’s bones. And if it must be said, Perkoff got the idea for the name from a book on Duke Ellington’s trombonists called Duke’s Bones. What is it that makes this music relevant and different? For one, the use of the berimbau on “Friday the 13th.” The single-string instrument resonates in the Delta blues, Bernstein tapping the feel and then getting the percussive shakers to add to the motif. His playing is inspired, entering a different dimension, and for certain it would make Monk salivate. The tune spins as the trombones come in and churn blues and funk into a dizzying sphere. The trombones orchestrate a slow motion intro to “Blue Monk.” But this, one of Monk’s most beautiful and melodic tunes, gets its blues blooding from Perkoff, whose inventive runs sit on the edge of deliberation. Roswell, who has played Monk before with compelling results, uses a wah-wah to growl out his solo, quite contrary to Perkoff's smooth approach. In countenance, the two strike sides that later channel into an edgy, angular and exciting dialogue. The swell breaks out on “Little Rootie Tootie,” the trombones trading phrases with the piano, the bass ticking below, the drums driving the pulse. Rudd sounds earthy and in character; Si Perkoff takes off on a melodic excursion, stamping his journey with points of exclamation. The whole makes for one intoxicating ride, like this engaging and heady recording.” - Jerry D'Souza

allaboutjazz.com

Except for a surrealistic version of “Friday The 13th,” Monk’s Bones offers straightforward interpretations of nine Thelonious Monk compositions. The third recording by Monk’s Music Trio adds the trombones of Roswell Rudd, a longtime exponent of Monk’s work, and Max Perkoff, the son of the band’s pianist, Si Perkoff. All of the tracks profit from the differences between Rudd’s eccentric Dixieland-to-1960s-avant-garde effusions and the younger Perkoff’s full-bodied, more conventional style. Some of the record’s finest moments consist of the slippery horns’ skewed interaction during the heads and wily commentary on each other’s solos. En route to a low-keyed conclusion, Rudd’s solo on “Little Rootie Tootie” conflates jabbing blats, pregnant silences, and forlorn howls that move in slow motion against the rhythm section. Max Perkoff’s turn on “Blue Monk” begins with fluid, dancing lines that show off his rich sound. About halfway through Perkoff becomes more deliberate, and his tone adopts a strident, burr-like quality. Si Perkoff, bassist Sam Bevan, and drummer Chuck Bernstein make essential contributions to the band’s overall sound. In concert with Bevan’s sturdy walking line, Perkoff’s incisive comping enlivens his son’s performance of “San Francisco Holiday.” Keeping the snare drum accents to a minimum, Bernstein elicits a variety of textures from his cymbals while maintaining a firm groove throughout Si Perkoff’s “Blue Monk” solo.” - David Orthmann

allaboutjazz.com

Think of One: A swinging trio with two outrageous trombones. If you’re wondering whether this is just another Thelonious Monk tribute, think again, because the Monk's Music Trio ups the ante in every way, continuing to creatively explore the music of one of jazz's most celebrated pianists. Monk’s Bones is the trio’s third release, following Harmony of Odd Numbers and Think of One. Led by jazz drummer Chuck Berstein, pianist Si Perkoff, and bassist Sam Bevan, the latest recording is now more brightly lit with the addition of two trombones played by master trombonist Roswell Rudd and Max Perkoff (Si Perkoff’s son). The trio's previous recordings were already tight, and now with the new brass, the music adopts a more flamboyant and spirited persona. Odd arrangements are a staple of Monk tunes, and the trio exploits this with the added horns. The trombones start the melody on ”Monk's Dream” with the piano bringing up the rear and everyone adding great solos. The horns (usually with one muted) are like a pair of lovers that moan, quarrel, or sing in harmony. There’s a sense of wit and style, done with impeccable musicianship and an emphasis on maintaining the essence of Monk, but also creating music that feels good. Monk’s music is about swing and varied moods, and the quintet extracts the most out of these selections. “San Francisco Holiday” bops heartily, “Blue Monk” moans a soulful lament, but the most outrageous rendition goes to “Friday the 13th,” where Bernstein plays a berimbau (Brazilian single-stringed percussion instrument) along with the trombones and an excellent bass solo which gives the tune an aboriginal Delta blues vibe. Hats off again to the Monk’s Music Trio for another glowing recording.” - Mark F. Turner

allaboutjazz.com

As the title suggests, Monk's Music Trio has brought in a pair of guest trombonists for this, their third release. Roswell Rudd and Max Perkoff are contrasting players from different generations. The elder Rudd is the boisterous iconoclast while Perkoffs harkens to the smoother tones of J.J. Johnson. Monk's catalog is a finite and familiar book, so there are no real surprises here. Rather, the elastic movements of the dual trombones underscore Monk's wholly unique manner with meter. This is a strength of the trio as well, with Si Perkoff embracing both the percussive and melodic possibilities of the piano. The CD cover's stylized apperance (by Haight-Ashbury mainstay Alton Kelly) comes from a visual language by now so culturally fixed with the Grateful Dead and their musical mindset that it begs a question of intent. While the improvisational paths of Garcia and company were generally based on rising and falling tides in a modal ocean, building to and receding from sonic density, these improvisations on Monk's music need to follow the alluring twists in the road. In fact, so compelling re the rhythmic and melodic underpinnings that an adherence to them allows for the often stunning solos gathered on this disc, singular in their voicings as well as being perfectly in sync with each composition's subtle demands.” - David Greenberger

— Signal To Noise, The Journal of Improvised & Experimental Music