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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pannonica @ The Lit & Phil - Oct. 30.

Zoe Gilby, vocals, Andy Champion, bass and Paul Edis, Piano.
(Review/photo by Jerry)
Pannonica is Zoe Gilby’s tribute to the music of Thelonius Monk (via Carmen McRae i.e. Monk with lyrics). I’d not seen the show before but was glad I caught this abbreviated version today as it was a real treat: nine Monk tunes interspersed with anecdotes and explanations and, in passing, a top-notch impersonation of Graeme Wilson! I look forward to seeing the full programme sometime soon.
Many of the lyrics were penned by Jon Hendricks including the zingy opener Rhythm-a-ning and the three tunes which followed. Pannonica, re-titled with lyrics, became Little Butterfly – a beautiful love song in which I’m sure the lyrics captured Monk’s feelings:
Like the lovely flowers / I wait for hours Just to feel that touch / The touch that I love so much
One day she'll flutter by I'll hold out my hand / And capture my butterfly.
Monk’s Dream, or Man, That’s A Dream featured some scat and a nice bass solo and Reflections, or Looking Back had a lovely piano finish. The line: “Thank God I’m a woman who knows” sounded like Zoe justifiably defending her choice of material!
Think of One, with lyrics by a Dutch vocalist, became When I Think of One. I’m not sure how the lyrics reflect the original unless it was about insecure love: When I think of one, I think of you / When you think of one, you think of who? There was a groovy piano solo and the final “who” sounded like a Tawny Owl in full cry.
I Mean You, with lyrics by Coleman Hawkins and Hendricks featured a great bass solo and was as near to “catchy” as Monk gets. Ugly Beauty, with lyrics by Mike Ferro, became And Still We Dream – a beautiful ballad / waltz about the end of a love affair. I like the way rhymes like “charming / alarming” crop up in Ferro’s lyrics echoing the oxymoronic original title.
My two favourites on the day were Blue Monk/Monkery’s the Blues and Brilliant Corners  When I’m Alone. The latter was amazing, musically – so complex that Monk’s band in 1956 (including Sonny Rollins), after no fewer than 25 takes, gave up and an edited “composite” had to go on the album. Today’s musicians were undeterred and the audience whooped their approval. Blue Monk was the closing number and Edis and Champion, who had solo-ed brilliantly throughout, saved their best till last and Zoe, whose vocals had been mesmerising elsewhere was really at home on this “blue highway”. I loved the lyrics, too – Abbey Lincoln, I believe:
Finding your one Place in the sun, Doesn't come the easy way Shallow or deep, Nothing is cheap, Measured by the dues you pay..
The lyrics perfectly fitted the tune – but not the occasion: I paid £4 and this was worth SO much more. I loved every minute!
Jerry

1 comment :

Nonsociopath Skin said...

An excellent gig. I wasn't sure I liked Thelonius Monk's music until then ...

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