Monk Spent Youth is a celebration of the music, the life and the spirit of Thelonious Monk. The original line of the band (Ben Davis – cello, Fred Thomas – drums, bass, and Zac Gvi – piano, bass clarinet) formed in 2014 and released their debut recording, “Monk Spent Youth”, in 2019. Monk Spent Youth has hosted a monthly night first at the Jamboree and more recently at Hackney Empire Arts with an ever changing line up which has featured Eddie Prevost, Martin Speake, Rob Luft, Phelan Burgoyne, Olie Brice, Max Hallet, Loz Speyer, Tom Wheatley and Corrie Dick among others. Digging deep into Monk’s world, Gvi treads the line between imitation and admiration of one of his musical idols not just in his playing but also in his compositions which feature on the group’s first album (and his choice of hats).
Monk’s contribution was instrumental to laying the groundwork for the abstract lexicon of Jazz and its ability to express the radical imagination. While his music was strongly rooted in tradition – particularly the Harlem Stride school and the Bebop of his contemporaries – he developed a unique voice and became a positive cultural icon for generations. Monk Spent Youth celebrates his musical legacy, his sense of humour and his spirit of freedom!
“Intriguing… rather other worldly” – Verity Sharp, Late Junction
“Fresh and never over-respectful… a hip tribute to the original hipster” – Clive Bell, the Wire
“Each arrangement brings a freshness to the pieces… both joyous and meditative… While I am reviewing this after I had compiled my ‘best of’ list for 2019, I wouldn’t hesitate to include this one and heartily recommend it” – Chris Baber, Jazz Views
“Monk Spent Youth is a complete pleasure” – Ian Mann, The Jazz Mann