Zaid Nasser: Off Minor


Off Minor


Zaid Nasser (alto sax)


Off Minor (Smalls SRC00039)

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Zaid Nasser (alto sax), Sacha Perry (piano), Ari Roland (bass), Phil Stewart (drums).

Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: New York, July 22, 2008


Rating: 81/100 (learn more)

Saying that "Off Minor" is one of Thelonious Monk's more difficult tunes is like saying the Empire State Building is one of New York's taller buildings. In general, performance of Monk's compositions demands a sophisticated understanding of harmony, yet "Off Minor" is complex even by Monk's standards. Its chromatic and tritone harmonic relationships present a daunting challenge to even the most accomplished improviser. Zaid Nasser makes things even more difficult for himself by choosing to take it at a faster pace. Instead of the medium swing feel usually favored by Monk, Nasser quickens it to a medium-up tempo. The knotty changes fly by at a slightly higher velocity than he seems comfortable addressing. His normally fluid lines become discontinuous and studied. His characteristic self-assuredness fades. Pianist Sacha Perry is somewhat more at ease. His lines connect the harmonic dots more completely, though it's left to bassist Ari Roland to make the most successful statement. Roland's arco solo is finely detailed. He's obviously internalized the tune to a greater extent than either Nasser or Perry. Even when his reach slightly exceeds his grasp, Roland plows through single-mindedly, without undue regard for the consequences which is the best way to approach The Onliest, in this writer's opinion.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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