Sonny Fortune: Hornin' In
Sonny Fortune (alto sax)
Trilogy Collection [originally Four in One] (Sound Reason)
Composed by Thelonious Monk.
Recorded: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, January 17-18 & 27, 1994
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Sonny Fortune considered Four in One to be "my first traditionally oriented jazz album." Outside of several of Monk's best known tunes, Fortune was not really familiar with Monk's body of work until several years prior to this project. Like Coltrane before him, Fortune adapted his individual style to the unique logic and idiosyncrasies of Monk's compositions, and revealed – to listeners and perhaps even to himself – an aspect of his musical personality that was fresh and surprising.
In checking Monk's discography, it appears that "Hornin' In" was recorded by him just once, in 1952, with a sextet that included Kenny Dorham, Lou Donaldson, Lucky Thompson and Max Roach. Hart's resounding Roach-like intro jump-starts Fortune's and Lightsey's unison rendition of the carefree, skittering theme, with its typically distinctive and complementary bridge. At first in his extended alto solo, Fortune sounds and phrases like Charlie Rouse, but gradually Sonny's unmistakable rhythmic flair, zestful post-bop flourishes, and other original stylistic quirks make the piece his own as he commandingly negotiates the stimulating chord progressions. Note Hart's brilliant drum work throughout, as well as Lightsey's perfectly attuned Monk-centric comping. Williams, as usual, can hardly be heard, even with Rudy Van Gelder at the controls. This is a take-no-prisoners version of a relatively obscure Monk tune that deserves to be played more often.
Reviewer: Scott Albin