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Wadada Leo Smith: Two New Albums on TUM

Review of "Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk" and "Najwa" albums by trumpeter

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Cover of Wadada Leo Smith album Najwa on TUM
Cover of Wadada Leo Smith album Najwa on TUM

Wadada Leo Smith:
Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk (TUM)
Najwa (TUM)

Wadada Leo Smith’s solo trumpet tribute to Thelonious Monk evokes two points of reference. First is Monk’s 1957 solo-piano masterpiece, Thelonious Himself, the album that did more to demonstrate the elasticity of time than Einstein and Hawking combined. Like the pianist did on that album, Smith, on Solo: Reflections and Meditations on Monk, juxtaposes his own originals with standards (in his case Monk staples), without timekeeping. But Smith doesn’t have harmony to structure his work, either; it’s all melody and whim.

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