Matt King | Monk in Brazil.

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Take the iconic, perennially modern works of Thelonious Monk and combine them with the pulsating, irresistible rhythms of Brazil. It was a brilliant idea, just waiting for the right musician to come along and realize it.

Jazz pianist and composer Matt King, winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in 2000 and a Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition semi-finalist, was that musician. After all, the project combined two of King’s long-standing passions: Monk and
Brazilian music. The result, Monk In Brazil (Mighty Quinn Productions) – subtitled “Re-grooving the music of Thelonious Monk” – refracts the genius of Monk’s music through the rhythms of one of the world’s most musically rich nations, creating a sound that’s bracingly fresh and powerfully seductive.

The key to realizing King’s alchemy of Monk and Brazilian music was recruiting the right musicians – those with feet firmly planted in both worlds. “Some of the top players in the New York area, or the world for that matter, are represented on this album,” King says. “The great bassists Nilson Matta and Itaiguara Brandão, drummers Mauricio Zottarelli and Adriano Santos, and guitarist Chico Pinheiro.I knew I wanted to record with those guys.”

“It’s a great honor and pleasure to play with Matt – he’s a fantastic piano player and this is an amazing CD,” Matta said. Two amazing and versatile percussionists, Fernando Saci and Emedin Rivera, also were brought onboard, along with the gifted Kahil Nayton, who plays the cavaquinho, the diminutive, ukulele-like guitar that brightly colors Brazilian samba and choro. As for the Brazilian grooves incorporated, samba and bossa nova are well represented, but so are lesser-known ones like baião, maracatu, and frevo. Over the course of 12 tracks, King ingeniously utilizes no less than eight different Brazilian rhythmic styles.

Label: Mighty Quinn
Release Date: 30 September 2017

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Last modified: July 15, 2018