Carmen McRae: Suddenly (aka In Walked Bud)

While she was plagued by poor health in her final years, Carmen McRae produced several fine recordings in the late 1980s and early 1990s. “Carmen Sings Monk” was one of her best recordings and it included lyricized versions of Thelonious Monk’s compositions (but not his solos). Some of the tunes were included in live and studio versions, and this live version of “In Walked Bud” featured Monk’s tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse in one of his final performances. The words were originally written by Jon Hendricks on short notice for a recording session with Monk. Hendricks describes a mythic jam session with Dizzy Gillespie, Don Byas, Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach, Monk and of course, Bud Powell. McRae’s performance begins as she scats the melody, followed by a full chorus of Hendricks’ words. Rouse takes the first solo, followed by Mraz and Willis, each of whom starts his solo with a quote, Mraz citing the song’s harmonic base (“Blue Skies”) and Willis acknowledging the Basie standard “Topsy”. McRae continues the parade of quotes with a phrase from “Louise” then goes into a short scat solo where she develops a small motive into a longer idea, then takes the end of the long idea and develops it into another phrase. When she goes back to the lyrics, she nearly stretches the song’s syncopations to their breaking point before bringing it back into sync with the band.

August 07, 2009 · 0 comments


Eddie Palmieri: In Walked Bud

It has been rare to hear Eddie Palmieri on record interpreting jazz standards, as he does with Thelonious Monk's "In Walked Bud" (and three others) on Listen Here! One of his trombonists on this track, Conrad Herwig, has released his own fascinating CDs presenting the "Latin Side" of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Wayne Shorter, respectively. Perhaps Palmieri and/or Herwig can devote an entire project to Monk sometime soon, given the successful Latin transformation of "In Walked Bud," a tune based on "Blue Skies" changes, that Monk wrote for his close friend Bud Powell.

An original Latin-rhythm vamp paves the way for Monk's theme, Hernández and Hidalgo helping to give the composition a completely different flavor than usual. Trumpeter Brian Lynch solos first, delivering flowing runs with a crisp yet glowing sound. Donald Harrison's silky alto offers phrasings that take delightfully unexpected twists and turns, followed by Herwig's sure-footed, dancing trombone. All these concise and stimulating solos set the stage for Palmieri's more extended escapade. His infectious percussive attack and montuno ending are all Palmieri, with surprisingly little hint of Monk or Powell. The next bracing call-and-response interlude features exclamatory riffs exchanged by two groupings of horns. Hernández and Hidalgo then eagerly engage one another over Palmieri's persistent montuno. A final exultant refrain from the horns wraps up this totally reimagined Monk opus by Palmieri's brass-heavy working band.

February 03, 2009 · 0 comments


Thelonious Monk: In Walked Bud

Thelonious Monk, photo by Herb Snitzer

Roy Haynes’ natural, boldly interactive style, combined with his clean ride-cymbal sound and high-pitched, metal snare drum make him one of the most in-demand bop drummers. From Pres to Bird to Trane to Chick, musicians have always sought out Haynes, who often left behind the traditional jazz drumming patterns for a more instinctive, nontraditional -- yet fundamentally bebop-oriented -- approach to jazz interaction. The near-perfect foil for Haynes was therefore Thelonious Monk, evidenced by their constant musical communication throughout this track. Haynes’ solo is a classic example of basing a drum solo on the melody of the given tune.

October 27, 2007 · 0 comments


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