This thirty-minute Monk performance reminds us why we love and miss live jazz.
For music lovers that have been starved of concerts and gigs for over a year now, this virtuosic 1969 solo performance of Thelonious Monk might be enough to transport you back. Something must have been in the autumnal air that night at the Berlin Jazz Fest, because Monk delivers one of his most dazzling performances. The way Monk plays keeps his listeners at the edge of their seats, and interestingly it’s that same unconventional freedom that made him an outcast in the beginning of his career. With that in mind, there’s a redemptive quality to the delight that arrives with the crowd’s applauses.
The first 20 minutes is Monk alone at the piano, playing with an exciting fervor that has him sweating profusely. When he’s joined at the end of the show by the uniquely captivating voice of Vaughan, Johnny Veith on piano, Gus Mancuso on bass and Eddy Pucci on drums, the group create the kind of vulnerable tenderness you have to see to believe. In remembrance of those spirited moments in the before times, enjoy this capsule of a great player at his absolute best.