Vaughn Deforest | T Monk Ballads: Love Letter to Thelonious

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T Monk Ballads: Love Letter to Thelonious

by Vaughn Deforest

Finally, the compilation of all Thelonious Monk's ballads, expertly sung and played in a fresh and unique setting.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Crepuscule with Nellie (In Twilight) [feat. Taylor O'Donnell, Lou Hoff & Jesse Feinberg]
7:11 $0.99
2. Monk's Mood (feat. Taylor O'Donnell, Lou Hoff & Mike Effenberger)
8:47 $0.99
3. Ask Me, Now (How I Wish) [feat. Mike Effenberger]
10:20 $0.99
4. Pannonica (Little Butterfly) [feat. Taylor O'Donnell & Lou Hoff]
6:21 $0.99
5. Round Midnight (feat. Lou Hoff, Jesse Feinberg & R J Miller)
6:18 $0.99
6. Ruby, My Dear (Dear Ruby) [feat. Taylor O'Donnell, Lou Hoff & Tony Gaboury]
6:07 $0.99
7. Ugly Beauty (Still, We Dream) [feat. Taylor O'Donnell & Tony Gaboury]
4:10 $0.99
8. Ask Me, Now (How I Wish) [Reprise] [feat. Taylor O'Donnell & Mike Effenberger]
6:19 $0.99
9. Round Midnight (Reprise) [feat. Taylor O'Donnell, Jesse Feinberg & R J Miller]
6:10 $0.99
10. Reflections (Looking Back) [feat. Tony Gaboury]
5:28 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
T Monk Ballads-Love Letter to Thelonious is a compilation of ballads composed by the legendary jazz musician, Thelonious Monk. It is intended, first and foremost, as a tribute to this wonderful man, and I have tried to arrange each piece with love which, I'm hoping, may come across to the listener as imbuing each song with a certain freshness. Now and then, I will have, in my writing, interpolated a "Monkism", not so as to "come off" overly precious but, rather, as an affectionate reminder of Thelonious' endearing sense of humor.

Ballads albums, for example Barbra Streisand's "Love is the Answer", Little Jimmie Scott's "All the Way", and "John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman", to name just a few, have always held special meaning for me, so how could this not pertain to Thelonious Monk's ballads, as well? Some who listen may be surprised that there are lyrics to all of his ballads. I, for one, had not been aware that there were lyrics to "Crepuscule with Nellie" or "Monk's Mood" until well after I had embarked on this project.

I would be so delighted if, by some quirk of fate, this album could serve as a catalyst for more individuals to become familiar with the joy of Thelonious Monk's music, but I would, also, be happy should it serve merely as a repository of Thelonious' ballads-a point of reference, so to speak, for those of us who are already fans.

The instrumentals were recorded by guitarist and recording engineer, my friend, Neil Lamb, at First Parish Church, in Brunswick, Maine, in three 3-hour sessions. (This is the church that was attended by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Joshua Chamberlain during Civil War times.)

The use of First Parish Church and its lovely piano to accommodate this project came about through the courtesy of Pastor Mary Bard and Minister of Music, Dr. Jane Hagness.

Mixing and mastering of "T Monk Ballads-Love Letter to Thelonious" were, also, by Neil Lamb.

I am so fortunate and pleased to be able to feature Taylor O'Donnell who performs most of the vocals. She is one of New England's foremost talents and teaches music at University of Southern Maine, in Portland, and at Berklee School of Music, in Boston. Her voice and her musicianship are beyond compare, and, invariably, with each new sampling, I hear, in her interpretation, some new, fresh and subtle coloration I had not "picked up on" before.

Taylor performs all the vocals, except the first (slower) version of "Ask Me Now (How I Wish)" and "Reflections (Looking Back)", in both of which I do the singing.

The trumpet solos are mine, and I play bass on my vocal of "Ask Me Now (How I Wish)" and Taylor's vocal of "'Round Midnight Reprise".

My dear friend, Lou Hoff (we worked together in "The Ten-Wheel Drive" and in "Dick Cone's Band" at the new "Half-Note", fifty years ago) plays all the alto sax solos.

Tony Gaboury plays guitar on "Ruby My Dear (Dear Ruby)", "Reflections (Looking Back)", and "Ugly Beauty (Still We Dream)".

Mike Effenberger plays piano, including the piano solos, on "Monk's Mood" and both versions of "Ask Me Now (How I Wish)".

Jesse Feinberg plays piano, including the piano solos, on "Crepuscule With Nellie (In Twilight)", both versions (tonal and atonal) of "'Round Midnight" and "Pannonica (Little Butterfly)" (except for the piano flourishes at the end of each phrase of "Pannonica" which came later and were performed by Mike Effenberger).

R J Miller plays the drum solos on both versions of "'Round Midnight".

Ensemble players are, as follow: Alto flute-Sean Potter; Alto sax-Jason St. Pierre; French horn-Loren Fields; Trombone-Dr. Chris Oberholtzer; Cello-Shannon Allen; String bass-Joshua DeScherer, and Drums/Percussion-R J Miller.

Marie Larrabee DeForest created the portrait for the front cover.

Whatever happens, I would like to thank and convey my deepest appreciation to everyone who contributed to this labor of love and, above all, to my dearest, darling, wife, Marie, for her unwavering love and support.

I consider it a privilege to have participated in the making of an album of Thelonious Monk's music. I've done a good deal of reading on Thelonious and his family, and this has only magnified my love and respect for him and his wonderfully supportive family.



Vaughn DeForest



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