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From Morrison to Monk, a weekend of tantalizing music

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John Beasley MONK’estra; Melissa Aldana. The Symphony Center Presents Jazz series kicks off the New Year with a powerhouse double-bill celebrating the music and legacy of Thelonious Monk. Though the world observed Monk’s centennial last year, this intriguing program stands to put a fresh perspective on its subject. As its name suggests, Beasley’s MONK’estra refracts Monk’s music through an orchestral perspective, though, as Beasley has said, “it’s not your grandfather’s big band.” The arrangements are edgy, rhythmically volatile and stylistically wide-ranging, as Beasley and friends have proven on two eponymous recordings on Mack Avenue Records. For this occasion, the band will be joined by guest harmonica player Gregoire Maret. Melissa Aldana, who won the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, opens the program; and though she has said she plans to devote much of her set to original scores, it seems nearly inevitable that she’ll play some Monk, considering her Monk contest triumph and the nature of this double-bill. Aldana will be joined by pianist Sam Harris, drummer Tommy Crane and bassist Pablo Maneras, with guest trumpeter Philip Dizack. 8 p.m. Friday in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave; $15-$61; 312-294-3000 or www.cso.org


Read the full piece from: Chicago Tribune

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