'Round Midnight (Music:Thelonious Monk, 1944)
This is Thelonious Monk’s best-known jazz composition, being the most-recorded jazz standard written by any jazz musician. Diamanda Galás’ approach is as if she has torn the chordal material into shreds and then put together the pieces again into a more austere, angular and edgier work. Don't get me wrong. The melody is elegantly played, and there is no doubt that it is Monks 'Round Midnight', we are listening too. Diamanda's rendition is disconsolate and persevering, at the same time. Music, tempo rubato and piano timbre has again provided both pause and spur. Her playing remains a marvel of stylised elegance and dazzling fluency. Fleetness complemented by a Saint Vitus Dance magic. Her playing brims over with a colour and nuance worn with an enviable ease and lightness. Again, the term ‘technique’ takes on an entirely new meaning. You will wonder at the finest gradations of tone and phrasing which has nothing to do with driven tempi or high-octane bravura, but only with the most concentrated wit and vitality. Her reworking of the chord structures deserves an essay, but not here, not now and not by me. She explains what it takes for a musician to do Monk's work justice:"A thorough study of the changes inside and out. A thorough study separately of the melody". As a novice listener I think it implies that, once you are familiar with the melody, listen closely to the bass line. It is occult arithmetic, and I can only speak about the shadows. Observation is one thing, perception another. This is an unreleased recording.