MastThelonious Sphere Monk
The sixteen track LP features a diverse cast of extraordinary musicians contributing instrumental virtuosity, which these Thelonious Monk compositions demand. NYC tenor saxophonist Chris Speed (Tim Berne, Jim Black) is haunting on "Well You Needn’t." Chicago drummer Makaya McCraven bashes and percolates on “Nutty” and “Let’s Cool One." As the album's lone piano protagonist, virtuoso Brian Marsella (John Zorn, Cyro Baptista) rises to the challenge and shines on "Ask Me Now," “'Round Midnight” and "Straight No Chaser." Philly born upright bassist Jason Fraticelli (Taylor McFerrin, Mark Guiliana) is expansive with endless improvisational ideas on "Blue Monk." And don’t forget the horns! Trombonist Jonah Levine, trumpeter Dan Rosenboom (Burning Ghosts) and baritone/alto saxophonist Gavin Templeton (Nels Cline) put power into Thelonious Monk’s prodigious melodies and flourish blistering solos on "Evidence", "Bemsha Swing," "Epistrophy," "Nutty," and "Let’s Cool One." MAST is an LA transplant via Philadelphia and a guitarist by trade. He approaches his six string leads on the album antithetically like middle-eastern influenced "Bemsha Swing," acoustically intimate "Friday the 13th," astral space fusion "Straight No Chaser," and melancholic jazz ballad "Pannonica."