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Greg Lewis: Organ Monk

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A relative newcomer on the scene, New York B3 maven Greg Lewis demonstrates monstrous dexterity and a loosely swinging, organic chemistry with drummer Cindy Blackman on his outstanding debut as a leader. His interpretations of 14 Thelonious Monk tunes are brash-full of chops, swagger and invention-and teeming with exhilarating momentum. The interactive hookup that he and Blackman have throughout, particularly on “Trinkle Tinkle,” “Jackie-ing,” “We See,” “Work” and “Four in One,” is truly amazing. On Monk’s “Criss Cross,” the two engage in a bashing improv dialogue at the start and then settle into a groove, with Lewis’ basslines pumping away. Guitarist Ron Jackson also contributes tasty solos on a relaxed “Light Blue,” a shuffle-swing rendition of “Boo Boo’s Birthday” and a bluesy “Think of One.” Larry Young fans will definitely dig this audaciously swinging Monk tribute.