Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gary Wittner/Thelonius Monk

Fans of Bill Frisell should check out Gary Wittner's CD 'Roadway'. Though few who listen to Gary Wittner will mistake him for Bill Frisell, these two unique guitarists are similarly rooted in Americana. Wittner's strongest influence by far is the quirky, angular music of Thelonius Monk.

Though only three of the thirteen pieces on 'Roadway' are Monk tunes, Monk's presence is felt throughout. Wittner's many original compositions are clearly and profoundly Monk-inspired. The three remaining pieces, solo guitar pieces recorded live at Concordia University in Montreal, are country blues in feel, but here again the spirit of Monk bursts forth occasionally. The instrumentation adds quirk with the odd addition of Howard Johnson (tuba, contra-bass clarinet) to the guitar-bass-drums core.

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