Hollywood, CA, February 2017 – John Beasley‘s MONK’estra Vol. 2 was recently in session at United Recording in Hollywood with conductor/arranger Beasley and co-producers Gavin Lurssen and Ran Pink. Vol.1, which was released in August 2016, has been nominated for two 2017 Grammys: Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Capella on “Ask Me Now”.
John Beasley’s debut MONK’estra album is a 15-piece big band project that captures the spirit of Thelonious Monk’s singular music -- the off-beat melodies and humor, strange beauty and unbounded swing -- in fresh contemporary jazz arrangements flavored with New Orleans spirit, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban rhythms and atmospheric colors.
Veteran jazz critic Don Heckman described MONK’estra Vol.1 as “some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory.”
Beasley is a far-ranging pianist, composer, and arranger who’s worked with Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Dianne Reeves, Christian McBride, Steely Dan, Chaka Khan, and even a stint with James Brown. He is easily one of the busiest and most versatile musicians in jazz balancing touring, working on blockbuster films and major television projects. As Music Director for the Thelonious Monk Institute, Beasley directed the “Jazz at the White House” concert, which was broadcast on ABC and earned him an Emmy nomination.
With MONK’estra, Beasley re-imagines Thelonious Monk’s compositions with an eye to the future; a superb contemporary big band that pays loving tribute to the master’s music while infusing it with contemporary harmonies, unstoppable grooves, and a contagious sense of fun.
Beasley commented on his recent sessions at United Recording, “I’ve done many recordings at United over three decades, including my latest Mack Avenue record MONK’estra Volume 1 and the upcoming MONK’estra Volume 2. United is unique in that you can combine vintage and contemporary recording techniques that result in a unique sound palette for each project. Their equipment is top of the line and their staff are most helpful."
Learn more about John Beasley’s MONK’estra at: http://johnbeasleymusic.com.
Pictured at United Recording are (L-R) Gavin Lurssen, co-producer; Wesley Seidman, United staff engineer; John Beasley, bandleader and co-producer, conductor/arranger; Josh Stuebe, recording engineer; and Ran Pink, co-producer/mix engineer. Photo by David Goggin.