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  • Jonathan Widran


Status Sphere, one of the more deeply imaginative, powerfully dynamic yet tenderly intimate Thelonious Monk tributes in recent memory, pairs two irrepressible staples of today’s NYC jazz scene.

With over 1600 compositions to his credit, veteran pianist/composer Joel Forrester is well known for his association with the Microscopic Septet and for composing the theme to NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross.” In addition to being a versatile, emotionally expressive tenor saxophonist, and longtime Forrester sideman, Vito Dieterle is the owner of two prominent jazz bars, the Silver Lining and The Django.

Performing passionately as a duo without a rhythm section, the two swing, sway, sashay and sensually navigate and detour from this sacred terrain as equals. The clever conceit of this 12 track set is the way they alternate between fresh twists on six of Monk’s indelible tunes (featuring Forrester’s colorful spin through Monk’s often punchy, percussive and angular style) and five of the melody driven pianist’s originals drawing on the legend’s influence.

The 12th (bonus) track is an extended 7-minute take on Monk’s moody and thoughtfully reflective “Crepescule with Nellie.” Expertly fusing Monk’s genius with the duo’s contemporary sense of invention, past meets present and opens the doors to the future in countless inspiring ways.

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