12 x 6 inches, oil on board, 2017
Friday, December 1, 2017
Lulu's Back in Town by Thelonious Monk is as old as I am (a few months older actually). The tune appears on the record It's Monk's Time that I recently bought at a thrift store, further extending the collection of Monk recordings on the jazz shelf in the back. The record is perhaps not Monk's greatest but the opening tune, a classic written by Al Dubin and Harry Warren and first recorded by Fats Waller in 1935, Lulu's Back in Town is another jewel in Monk's oeuvre. Monk's starting the tune in old fashioned stride piano style before his quartet, with Charlie Rouse on sax, comes in. Monk's characteristic sense of timing sets the tune apart from the great stride piano players of yore and from Waller's version. It is perhaps Monk's unique timing that puns into the album title which more directly refers to Monk's portrait on the cover of Time Magazine that appeared around the same time. That portrait, painted by Boris Chaliapin, is the most famous Monk portrait out there. I wish to compete with Chaliapin's especially now that Time Magazine has been sold to a conservative media outlet. So keep reposting this image to make it happen!