NOW, A JAZZ MOMENT...
MUSIC: It Don?t Mean a Thing (Monk Plays Duke Ellington)
IN 1955, NEA JAZZ MASTER ORRIN KEEPNEWS MADE A LANDMARK RECORDING OF THELONIOUS MONK PLAYING THE MUSIC OF DUKE ELLINGTON. IT WAS MONK?S FIRST RECORDING WITH KEEPNEWS FOR THE RIVERSIDE LABEL, WHICH WOULD BECOME A SPRINGBOARD FOR WHAT MANY CONSIDER TO BE MONK?S MOST FRUITFUL PERIOD. THERE WAS A PERCEPTION THAT MONK?S MUSIC WAS TOO DIFFICULT FOR THE MAINSTREAM PUBLIC, SO ORRIN KEEPNEWS WANTED TO PRESENT HIM IN A NEW LIGHT...
Orrin Keepnews: One of the big strengths was that I didn?t really know what I was doing, so that I wasn?t frightened by the fact that I was recommending to him a course of action that was unlike anything he?d ever done before. Basically I said, what I?d like us to do is I want to do two albums, trio. Let?s get rid of those damn bebop horns, at least for the time being, and have you presented directly to the audience. And I would like you to work largely or entirely with standard material. And, I won?t even say to my great surprise, because I didn?t know enough about the man I was dealing with at that point to even be surprised by how easy it was for him to agree to do that!
MUSIC: up for punctuation, then fades under and out
THIS JAZZ MOMENT WITH PRODUCER ORRIN KEEPNEWS WAS CREATED BY THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS. I?M CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE.
Orrin Keepnews on his first session with Thelonious Monk