MONK'estra, Vol. 2 John Beasley

Album info



Label: Mack Avenue Records

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Big Band

Album including Album cover


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FLAC 44.1 $ 13.50
  • 1Brake's Sake (feat. Dontae Winslow)07:05
  • 2Played Twice03:54
  • 3Crepuscule with Nellie04:29
  • 4Evidence07:20
  • 5Ugly Beauty / Pannonica05:18
  • 6I Mean You06:22
  • 7Light Blue05:24
  • 8Dear Ruby06:10
  • 9Criss Cross06:20
  • 10Work05:53
  • Total Runtime58:15

Info for MONK'estra, Vol. 2

If one were to have access to a time machine and could go back to see legendary bandleader Thelonious Monk in concert during the 1950s and ‘60s, you’d likely see him so compelled by the music that he would retreat from his piano mid-performance and conduct his band, no matter how small or large, through an impassioned dance. But behind the joyous dance that overtook the stage lay the societal struggles a jazz musician endured to present that 90 minutes of musical freedom – a tale of police harassment, systemic oppression and constant battles for equality. Fast forward to 2017 and composer-arranger-pianist John Beasley is using Monk’s spontaneous movements and experiences as the basis for conducting radically re-conceived versions of the late composer’s music for his critically acclaimed big band project: MONK’estra.

Beasley expands on the inspiration that earned him two GRAMMY® Award nominations, plus widespread critical and popular acclaim, for MONK'estra, Vol. 1. Vol. 2’s 10 songs explode into new musical experiences due to the collective unit embracing a new strain of jazz, which features diverse sounds and a broad base of influences from the entire black music canon.

“with his 16-piece band, Mr. Beasley laces 10 of those crooked themes into funky, often­-Caribbean rhythms, pulling them into today and back to a taproot. Mr. Beasley is himself a mutable pianist and crafty arranger, and this album — like the first volume — carves up and dissects Monk’s famous bebop melodies. …the conversation gets special on Mr. Beasley’s rambunctious solo.” (The New York Times)

John Beasley, piano, synthesizer, arranger, conductor John Beasley Big Band

John Beasley
Pianist, composer, arranger: John Beasley’s career brims with accomplishments that bridge musical and visual media. An uncommonly versatile pianist, he has backed such jazz icons as Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard – playing in the bands of both these trumpet greats while still in his 20s – as well as with Dianne Reeves, Steely Dan, Chaka Khan, Carly Simon, Christian McBride (and even, for one night, with James Brown). His extensive work as a composer-arranger extends way beyond jazz, with many credits in television and film– including a host of movies scored by multiple Oscar nominee Thomas Newman – that have earned him five GRAMMY® nominations and an Emmy nod along the way.

The son of a professional bassoonist, Beasley started writing his own arrangements while still in junior high school. These caught the attention of Jimmy Lyons, founder of the Monterey Jazz Festival, who recommended him for a scholarship at the Stan Kenton summer jazz camp. During high school, he was hired to arrange for theatre productions and recordings while playing with older jazz musicians.

At 19, he formed bands with Vinnie Colauita, John Patitucci, Rickey Minor and started touring internationally with artists in the jazz and pop-music world, including Sergio Mendes, DJ Jazzy Jeff (Will Smith), Jackson 5, until he joined Freddie Hubbard’s band.

Living in Hollywood, at age 21, Beasley started composing for award-winning television programs such as Cheers, Fame, Family Ties, and the series premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Through his three-decade association with Thomas Newman, he has contributed to such films as Spectre and Skyfall (both starring Daniel Craig as James Bond), The Shawshank Redemption, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (I & II), Finding Nemo, Finding Dory and Wall-E.

When reality singing TV competitions started, Beasley was an associate musical director in 2005, when he helped usher Carrie Underwood to victory, then stayed on as lead arranger for 10 years. He stepped up to the role of musical director for several other TV singing shows, including Duets, Sing Your Face Off, and the Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary special.

In 1992 Beasley released Cauldron, the first of eleven recordings under his name (produced by Steely Dan’s Walter Becker), and he received his first GRAMMY nomination for the 2009 album Positootly! His two most recent releases, MONK’estra Vol.1 and MONK’estra Vol.2, each earned two GRAMMY nominations for Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Arranging.

Beasley has served as musical director for the Herbie Hancock Jazz Institute (formerly The Thelonious Monk Institute)’s annual gala concerts since 2011, guiding legends as well as the next generation of jazz greats through all-star tributes to Quincy Jones, Bill Clinton, George Duke, and Aretha Franklin. Since UNESCO’s inauguration of International Jazz Day in 2012, Beasley has also directed the organization’s annual concerts which have been broadcast globally from Cuba, St Petersburg, Paris, Istanbul, Osaka, and the notable 2016 concert at the White House, hosted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama which earned Beasley his Emmy nomination. This next Jazz Day concerts will be held in Australia and South Africa.

Beasley seamlessly shapes each concert starring 30+ global jazz and pop all-stars, including Sting, Aretha Franklin, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jamie Cullum, Ivan Lins, Youn Sun Nah, Dhafer Youssef, Joey Alexander.

Beasley wears enough hats to qualify as a haberdasher’s dream. In addition to all of the above, he has co-produced albums by legendary guitarist Lee Ritenour, oft-awarded vocalist Dianne Reeves, and former Weather Report drummer Peter Erskine, whose Dr.Um received a 2017 GRAMMY nomination. For two seasons, Beasley directed the Toyota Symphonies for Youth’s “Jazz and the Orchestra” for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. His worldwide tour with his band MONK’estra continues to perform in major stages, festivals and clubs throughout the world, including: North Sea, Detroit, Playboy, Java, Berlin, Wellington jazz festivals; Ronnie Scotts, Blue Note Tokyo, Walt Disney Hall, Dizzy’s, SFJAZZ, San Diego Symphony, Broad Stage, SOKA, with conducting orchestras in Brussels, Germany, Latvia, US and Sweden.

This album contains no booklet.

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