The Mark Travers Project presents Thelonious Monk
Sunday 27th May, 2018
This narrative of Monk’s life and music, where his life was narrated and dramatised, accompanied by music that highlighted the important milestones, covered Monk’s well-known tunes and was interspersed with original compositions by conductor and arranger Mark Travers.
Actor Luke Gasper did a good job of narrating us through Monk’s life and legacy, but Monk’s wife Nellie felt marginalised and actor Ali Somers (playing ‘Everyone Else’) attempted too many characters and voices with the end result being a fragmented overview of Monk’s life.
Musically, some of Monk’s music seemed to have a lot of its quirkiness exorcised (in the style of pianist Hans Groiner) with reggae and fusion versions of Monk standards being the least authentic to Monk’s enduring legacy.
The accompanying big band featured some fine soloists such as Mark Bassey, Jane Tuff and Alex Bondonno and a reliable rhythm section of Oz Dechaine and Matt Hobson. Unfortunately, given that this was a pianist’s music, the electronic keyboard sound didn’t quite fit.
(Photo: Lisa Wormsley)