Thelonious Monk

Jazz and The Art of Movement

Where do we consider being at home? When do we feel that we belong in a place and how quickly can we become dispossessed?

In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe talks about how jazz traces various migrations – some arbitrary, some forced, and some chosen – and beyond appropriation and broad-stroke caricature, reveals difficult truths of identity, well-being, and honest relationship.

Jazz and The Art of Mental Health (Part 1)

Listen back as we discuss the making of jazz, around a frank conversation about mental illness, addiction, and the advantages of thinking beyond our present circumstances. Through the artistry of Buddy Bolden, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and others, we explore the intersection of mental balance, suffering, wellness, and virtuosity.

How does our outlook on life either enhance or hamper our ways of being? How does creativity help us cope with our struggles? How can the power of music help us keep our torment at bay?

Rabbi and Jazz Historian Neil Blumofe in conversation with Rebecca McInroy. Featuring: Michael Malone, saxophone; Adrian Ruiz, trumpet; Andre Hayward, trombone; Red Young, piano; John Fremgen, bass; Brannen Temple, drums.

V&B – Jazz & The Atomic Age

In this episode of Views & Brews, KUT’s Rebecca McInroy joins Rabbi/Jazz Historian Neil Blumofe and a live jazz ensemble (Sam Penke – bass, Ephraim Owens – trumpet, Andre Hayward – trombone, Scott Laningham – drums, Mike Malone – saxophone) in a discussion about jazz, post-war paranoia, and the Atomic Age, with a focus on the music of mid-century America, highlighting the work of Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington. Beyond the old duck and cover drills of the Cold War, how do we cope with the constant threat of existential disaster? How does our music reflect our hopes and our anxieties? How do we distinguish between the treacle of intoxicating propaganda and the ineffable wonder that transforms our soul? What truly, conquers our fears?

Andrew Hill (6.28.15)

Andrew Hill was an American jazz pianist and performer, who’s innovative approach to composition, was not only shared on his records and in the clubs, but also in the classroom. In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe, talks about what the life, legacy and perspective of Andrew Hill can teach us about how we, not only approach music, but life also.

Jackie McLean (5.17.15)

Jackie McLean was and American jazz alto saxophone player, who came up in New York City with greats like Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus. He went on to, not only record with a  wide range of musicians, but he also worked to educate generations of players though presence.

In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe talks about the important lessons McLean’s life and legacy can teach us about our place in the world today, what we give, and how we navigate the sanctity of each moment.

John Hendricks (11.16.14)

Jon Hendricks is an American jazz singer who is considered to be the poet laureate of jazz. He inspired, and continues to speak to, greats like Bobby McFerrin and even Thelonious Monk. In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Bulmofe, explores the way in which, as a singer, Hendricks’ discipline and skill is a remarkable example of the importance of self-care. When we see our body and soul as the “instrument” through which we can make the music of our life, we hold it dear, as Hendrick’s continues to do.

Alfred Lion and Blue Note Records (6.1.14)

Alfred Lion was a German-Jewish born record executive who made his way to the U.S. via South America in the 1930s. He founded Blue Note Records soon after arriving in America and went on to record many legendary jazz artists; helping to shape the sound, image and meaning of jazz in America. In this edition of Liner Notes Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe explores the significance of Lion’s vision and Blue Note Records.

Mary Lou Williams (5.11.14)

Mary Lou Williams was a a giant in the jazz world in the beginning of the 20th century. As an arranger, composer and pianist she worked with Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman and went on to mentor jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.

In this installment of Liner Notes Rabbi, jazz historian and musician Neil Blumofe explores how the idea of a “Mother” can be extended beyond our biological lines to include those who love and nurture us, and help to bring us up in this world so we can in turn help and love others.

Happy Mother’s Day!

V&B: Thelonious Monk and The Art of Hesitation

Thelonious Monk is an original and unique voice in the shaping and the sound of American music. Both his compositions and his inimitable piano playing continue to confound and resound decades after their inception, bringing us to ask questions — how far can one go when listening to your own muse? Does the artist have a responsibility to instruct while creating? Can art just be enjoyed or does it have to vex to be effective? When looking to swing, how important is rhythm? What is said in the silences? These are the questions we set out to explore during what proved to be an inspirational night of ideas and music at the Cactus Cafe.

Listen to some of the highlights from the event with KUT’s Views and Brews Remix featuring Rabbi Neil Blumofe in discussion with KUT’s Rebecca McInroy along with musicians Rich Harney (piano) Roscoe Beck (bass) Brannen Temple (drums) and Sam Lipman (Saxophone) and special guest Ephraim Owens (trumpet).

Charlie Rouse (4.13.14)

Charlie Rouse was an American hard bop tenor saxophonist and much sought-after sideman. He is known primarily for his collaboration with Thelonious Monk. In this edition of Liner Notes Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe talks about the significance of the role of the “sidemen” and “associates” in our lives, and why it is important to appreciate all the parts that make up a greater whole.

Jazz and The Art of Patronage (3.30.14)

What does it mean to be a patron of the arts? Perhaps you have the means to support art innovation in your community, or maybe you are a producer of music or art and you work behind the scenes. Maybe your way of supporting art is just showing up. All of these are means of developing an artistic community and building a creative environment for future generations.