Have you ever seen those “reaction” videos that people post on YouTube?
They generally consist of someone listening to a recording, and “reacting” with big facial expressions of surprise and delight. They’re very popular and a lot of people find them to be entertaining.
“Reaction” videos were on my mind as I sat down to play Thelonious Monk’s tune “I Mean You” this week. “I Mean You” is a wonderful tune with some of the “Monk-isms” that we’ve come to expect in his music. Things like tricky rhythms, unexpected dissonances, and challenging chord progressions. Just the things, I thought, that someone might react to in a big way like on those “reaction” videos!
But don’t worry… I resisted this temptation and opted instead to react verbally, by explaining exactly what I was thinking as I looked at each measure in the piece.
It was a fascinating process.
Some measures reminded me of the relation between the Swing and Bebop eras, which Monk bridged, historically. Some measures evoked observations about the tune’s chord structure, which is sometimes radical and sometimes traditional. And, of course, some measures brought out thoughts on how to play Monk’s music in general.
I had a great time diving deep into Monk’s music in this way, and I’m delighted to share it with you here:
I Mean You: Journey Through The Real Book #164
I hope my “reactions” inspire you with your own music. Enjoy the journey and “let the music flow!”
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