Jazz@First: Melodious Monk, featuring Kim Pensyl
Sunday, November 19, 2017 @ 2pm | First Unitarian Church

People tend to remember pianist Thelonious Monk as the eccentric “high priest of bebop” featured on the cover of Time Magazine in the ‘50s. But his mark as a composer is indelible, and his strong melodies are constantly re-interpreted in every generation and in many styles. Kim Pensyl brings his lovely, poignant flugelhorn sound to Monk’s music in this wonderful acoustic setting.

Jazz@First Series Sponsor: Al Harris

Kim Pensyl, trumpet

Kim Pensyl is a prolific jazz recording artist, composer, arranger, and producer who has twice been named one of Billboard’s Top-20 Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Year. A pianist and trumpeter, he has had four Top-10 albums on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart.

He has recorded with jazz legends such as Toots Thielemans, and modern greats like Joey Calderazzo, Bob Mintzer, Chiele Minucci, Andy Narell, Will Kennedy, Steve Rodby, and Alex Acuna. He has performed at such esteemed jazz venues as The Blue Note, Blues Alley, Caravan of Dreams, Scullers, the Beacon Theatre, and the Great American Music Hall. He has also appeared at the Clearwater Jazz Festival, Sunfest, Summerfest, Stone Mountain Jazz Festival, and Pacific Jazz Festival among others. Also, Kim has toured with the Woody Herman Orchestra and Acoustic Alchemy. He has more than 100 published works recorded and over 150 compositions and arrangements in his catalog. Great reviews from DownBeat, Jazziz, Jazz Times and others have followed him during his career, echoing the feelings that fans have about his music.

Kim is an associate professor of music in the jazz studies and commercial music production departments at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and is very active in his college teaching and program development, including the new Commercial Music Production program.  Kim writes and performs with the Faculty Jazztet and guest artists at CCM, like Dave Liebman, Arturo Sandavol, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, Terri Lyne Carrington, Rufus Reid, John Clayton, and Mulgrew Miller among others.  Kim performs around Cincinnati and Central Ohio in various groups with Phil DeGreg, Rick VanMatre, and many others.  He is a member of the Blue Wisp Big Band, Pat Kelly’s Psycho Acoustic Orchestra, Hank Maunter’s Masterworks Orchestra, Carmon DeLeone’s New Studio Big Band, and Brasilia. 

About Thelonious Monk

Thelonious Monk  was an American jazz pianist and composer. Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “‘Round Midnight”, “Blue Monk”, “Straight, No Chaser”, “Ruby, My Dear”, “In Walked Bud”, and “Well, You Needn’t”. Monk is the second most-recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than a thousand pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70.

His compositions and improvisations feature dissonances and angular melodic twists, and are consistent with Monk’s unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of switched key releases, silences and hesitations.

He was renowned for his distinctive style in suits, hats, and sunglasses. He was also noted for an idiosyncratic habit observed at times during performances: while the other musicians in the band continued playing, he would stop, stand up from the keyboard, and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano.

Monk is one of five jazz musicians to have been featured on the cover of Time, after Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, and Duke Ellington and before Wynton Marsalis