Day 164: Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners

11 Aug

Brilliant Corners

Jazz?  On my Swole Ear?  What is this madness?

A certain, more abrasive commenter told me to check out some work by Thelonious Monk, a jazz pianist and composer.

Believe it or not, I’m kind of lost for words.

As someone who has never listened closely to a single song from the jazz genre, how exactly am I supposed to put together 250+ words about an entire jazz record?  This won’t be the first (or last) time I’ve winged a Swole Ear post, I guess.

I’ll be straight with y’all.  I found Brilliant Corners boring.  It’s different than the zone-out music that I often write so fondly about—I wouldn’t call this album relaxing by any means.  There’s pretty much always something jarring happening, whether it’s another seemingly misplaced drum fill, or that sax riff for what feels like the 100th time.

Maybe I just don’t get it.  If I recall, it took a bit of perseverance for me to get into the hipster garbage world that is indie music.  Perhaps I need to listen to more jazz in order to really appreciate what I just listened to.  There’s an important question that I have to ask myself, though: is that what I really want to do at the moment?  I think the answer is no.  As far as this blog goes, I’m pretty content with being stuck in the world of modern, “obscure” music.  Yeah, that’s ignorant of me, but is a little instant gratification too much to ask for from a project like this?

So no, I’m not into jazz at the moment.  I prefer checking out buzz bands, and even ripping them new ones can be fun for me.  I’m conflicted, though, because having a broad musical horizon is important to me.  This probably won’t be the last jazz post of this blog.  Who knows, maybe next time around, I’ll get it.


6 Responses to “Day 164: Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners”

  1. Dave Chops August 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Good for you for trying.

    • Dave Chops August 11, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

      Two more things (you knew that I could not shut up after only six words): You have something in common with the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter (the inspiration for “Pannonica”) who was a huge music fan. She was born into the Rothschild family and gave up her inheritance and her life as a member of the Rothschild family allegedly because she heard Monk play Round About Midnight in 1954 and had to go to New York to hear more. She later took the rap for him on a marijuana charge and spent time in jail. THAT is a fan. There is a somewhat lengthy but interesting documentary on her that you can see in its entirety on youtube:

  2. Dave Chops August 11, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

    Second: You may never love jazz but you would be far from the first person to get it later in life. In about 1981, I loaned out a Fats Waller album that I had (I had heard This Joint Is Jumpin on the radio) to a friend. The friend (then probably 17) claims it was the first jazz album he ever listened to. He is now director of public programming for Jazz At The Lincoln Center.

    You may need to go to a show to get it. Sonny Rollins, who plays sax on Brilliant Corners, is now in his eighties and in poor health. You would not know from listening to him. Last year I took a non jazz fan in her mid-forties to see him. She got it.

  3. Yuanny Dollar August 13, 2011 at 2:04 am #

    Keep on trying Swole, but don’t count on it ever working. For years and years and years, I’ve tried to like Miles Davis because I know I should (at least that’s what the music intellectuals tell me) and I don’t and I don’t think I ever will. Atonal Kenny G as far as I’m concerned and I don’t like Kenny G.

    • Dave Chops August 13, 2011 at 6:43 am #

      Let’s not get carried away here. $ may not be down with the modern jazz but I am pretty sure that he taps his toes to Louis Armstrong, chortles at dirty Jelly Roll Morton tunes and appreciates Billie Holiday. Jazz music encompasses as much variety as rock. Some day, when you have the time and the inclination, you will find some jazz that you love. But there is plenty of time for that. Indie on.


  1. Some Stats « Swole Ear - March 9, 2012

    […] material.  In fact, about 21% of the Swole Ear repertoire was released between 2011 and 2012. Only one record released in the 1950s was listened to throughout the project’s duration.  Most records […]

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