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Jay Leonhart: Group 15 Plays Monk

Group 15 twists and bends Monk to fit the fifteen strings of its three finely tuned instruments. Leonhart, guitarist Peter Bernstein and violinist Tom Aalfs stumbled into Monk together at a Museum of Modern Art gig and knew they’d hit on something worth repeating. Playing in unison, alternating leads and rhythm, they tackle everyday and arcane Monk: a lush opening in “‘Round Midnight,” Leonhart’s bass crooning behind Bernstein’s lead on “Misterioso” and a light swingy “Eronel.” Aalfs’ mellow electric violin blends and contrasts with Bernstein’s melodic notes and chords, while Leonhart adds his clever phrasing to their own brand of Monkadelic.

Originally Published