Free to Members. “The pinnacle of the jazz-piano tradition,” (JazzTimes), pianist, composer, and 2019 NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron curates this celebration of jazz legend Thelonious Monk’s 105th birthday in an evening of solos, duos, and trios featuring his working trio of bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake, with guest pianist Benny Green.
A 12-time GRAMMY nominee and 2010 NEA Jazz Master recipient, Barron is a singular artist who is uniquely qualified to honor Monk, having made the eccentric genius’ music a constant part of his repertoire for decades. He helped define and extend the jazz tradition since his work with Dizzy Gillespie in the early ‘60s, and crucial stints with Freddie Hubbard, Yusef Lateef, Stan Getz, James Moody and Ron Carter built his peerless reputation as a sideman. He has recorded nearly 50 albums as a bandleader over his five-decade career, including seven with the Monk alumni band Sphere featuring legendary saxophonist Charlie Rouse and drummer Ben Riley.
With his “splayed joy-spring chords, Thelonious Monk stabs and gospel voicings” (Mercury News), Green developed his lyrical and propulsive playing in the star-making bands of a pair of longtime Monk associates, drummer Art Blakey and bassist Ray Brown. The former Berkeley High wunderkind has regularly made Monk compositions a part of his three-decade bandleading career, infusing the icon’s singular works with irrepressible joy.