The Canyoneers 8 a.m., Dec. 19
Re-Thinking Monk at the Saville Theatre
Pianist Joshua White kicked off the summer season of KSDS Jazz 88's concert series last night at the Saville Theatre. His quartet recruited two young cats from LA, bassist J.P. Maramba and drummer Jens Kuross, and a wily San Diego veteran, Tripp Sprague on reeds.
The pianist concentrated on the work of Thelonious Monk for much of the evening, although the material was drastically recast through White's own prism.
The band opened on a seldom heard Sonny Clark piece, "5 will get you 10", with a rollicking, hypnotic ostinato. Drummer Kuross was disruptive in the best possible way throughout the night, channeling Roy Haynes one moment, and Paul Motian the next.
Bassist Maramba focused on the big, meaty notes in a fashion that recalled Charlie Haden--he made each note count by slowing things down and pulling the listener in.
Sprague played soprano mostly, chirping, trilling and soaring in lockstep with White's constantly evolving landscapes. As for the pianist, he honored Monk in the most meaningful way--by deconstructing tunes like "Ugly Beauty" and "Criss Cross " without imitation or cliche.
For the finale, the band raced through the difficult theme of "Well You Needn't," White's solo bursting with ideas that careened off the keyboard, and stopped on a dime for a thunderous drum spot that segued into a hot minute of "Rhythm-A-Ning."
photo by Richard White