Playlist: Exploring the Wide World of Monk with Hamilton de Holanda

Hamilton de Holanda shares some of his favorite Monk tunes

News | May, 26th 2017

Few jazz composers boasted a style as instantly recognizable as Thelonious Monk's. His tunes declare themselves as Monk originals within just a few bars; and, as famed bandolimplayer Hamilton de Holanda says, "Each one has a story."

It's a great time to be a Monk fan. Next month, Monk's long-lost soundtrack for Roger Vadim's "Les liaisons dangereuses" will finally be released, and, from June 1-3, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis will perform "World of Monk" as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Monk festival. Also on the concert are Holanda and Baqir Abbas, a flautist and member of the Sachal Jazz Ensemble, whose previous performances with the JLCO drew rave reviews.

Read on for Holanda's thoughts on some of his favorite Monk tunes, and listen to a playlist featuring his chosen tracks (as well as some cuts we couldn't resist including).

Evidence: "It has a rhythmic break in the melody that seems like we're on a road always dodging obstacles at a constant speed and every obstacle is a pretty chord. It has chords that at first may seem strange, but the answer to it is always in the next measure or in the part that follows."

Trinkle, Tinkle: "It's a song that, for me, has a particular, graceful humor. When I first heard it, it struck me as a joke between two clowns. It has a harmonic depth characteristic of this incredible composer. The melodic rhythm, as in most of his compositions, is surprising."

Ruby, My Dear: "It's a beautiful melody! With a harmony that brings me to an image of a couple in love, in a moment of love. It is the voice of the heart that speaks tenderly. It's the classic ballad."

We See: "It gives me a youthful joy, one that we can never stop feeling. I feel that this song has the spirit of freedom, to live lightly. Playing it is like being thirsty and drinking a glass of cold water. It's a song that refreshes."

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