Thursday, July 4, 2013

Creating a Path to Jazz in Churches ~ The Thelonious Monk Septet's Monk's Music

Cleared off the top of my stereo so I could play an LP or two. Monk's Music was released by Riverside Records in 1957. It was one of the first jazz records to be in my collection, but that wasn't till nearly thirty years after it was recorded Only six tunes on the LP, five of which are tunes by Thelonious Monk, but the first tune is a less than a minute take of Abide with Me. The hymn was written by Henry Francis Lyte as he prepared for death. The opening refers to Luke 24:29, "Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent"
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
... but the music was composed by William H. Monk. Thus it is Monk's music. Thelonious Monk does not play on the tune and I wonder if that ever happened again on one of his albums. He arranged it for horns. Ray Copeland, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Gigi Gryce play it ~
When I first played this LP, I doubt I would have one day be a fan of jazz vespers and be planning to celebrate my 50th birthday at an Episcopalian church and with jazz. But that is where my life has unfolded.

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