Exhibiton Space

Elliott Sharp (US) plays Monk, Jü

One of the definitely greatest on New York's avant jazz and underground scened Elliott Sharp returns to Budapest tp present his ingenious version of Monk. The support will come by the great Jü formation.

Elliott Sharp (US)

Elliott Sharp plays the music of Thelonious Monk

E# has just released a set of solo-acoustic guitar interpretations of Thelonious Monk classics on the Clean Feed label.   This CD turned up on a number of "Best of 2006" lists and has received many strongly positive reviews.

"One of few guitar players devoted to helping free the instrument from respective genre-related gimmicks and listener expectations...Sharp proves that Monk was one of jazz' greatest experimentalists and that his work continues to spur on unique interpretations, and not only by pianists" - All About Jazz


Sharp? Monk? Sharp! Monk!

from Paris Transatlantic:

Though I've been acquainted with Elliott Sharp's proverbial eclecticism for several lustra, the name Thelonious Monk was not one I ever expected to see associated with Downtown's one and only cyberbluesman. Sharp's passion for Monk's music dates back to 1968 when, during a stint as a late night DJ, he discovered Monk's "tart harmonies and percussive attack, his catchy but twisted melodies and his incredible rhythmic motion, always dry and economical", but it's taken 38 years for the New Yorker to display that admiration on record. Armed with a Dell'Arte Grande Bouche acoustic guitar, a few mics, preamp, compressor and ProTools, he recorded three versions each of the five Monk pieces covered here. The resulting homage is a treat, a set of heartfelt, crystal-clear improvisations.

Sharp might be best known as a composer, but he's bad on the guitar. The theme of "Misterioso" is rendered with scholarly devotion, but when E# starts attacking the fretboard with his trademark percussive style, tapping and snapping the strings to elicit mind-boggling cascades of notes, you could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Thelonious Sphere wrote the piece specially for him. "Epistrophy" is another "look-ma-both-hands-on-neck" eruption (no, Van Halen has nothing to do with it), ending with a lyrical yet intense virtual string/tabla duo that brings the whole body of the guitar into play. "Bemsha Swing" is probably the best entry point to the whole album, its theme executed with a cool blend of Montgomery-like octaves and half-strummed, half-plucked lines that could teach a few things to the snotty Berklee nerds lost in their Superlocrian finery. Perhaps the most impressive performance, though, is "Round Midnight", played with enormous sensitivity using a complex mix of harmonics and plucked notes, before the improvised section casts us into the arms of a ghostly Joe Pass/John Fahey hybrid, each note perfectly calibrated to reveal its luminescent particles. A final eBow elegy seals this astonishing version of an otherwise pretty worn-out standard. The grand finale "Well You Needn't" is a clamorous show of technical prowess and right-brain intuition: the evergreen is felled, sawn up and mashed into an infernal pulp of flamenco bottleneck blues

Sharp is an American multi-instrumentalist, composer, and performer.

A central figure in the avant-garde and experimental music scene in New York City for over 30 years, Elliott Sharp has released over eighty-five recordings ranging from orchestral music to blues, jazz, noise, no wave rock, and techno music. He leads the projects Carbon and Orchestra Carbon, Tectonics, and Terraplane and has pioneered ways of applying fractal geometry, chaos theory, and genetic metaphors to musical composition and interaction.

His collaborators have included Radio-Sinfonie Frankfurt; pop singer Debbie Harry; Ensemble Modern; Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; Kronos String Quartet; Ensemble Resonanz; cello innovator Frances Marie Uitti; blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Pops Staples; pipa virtuoso Min-Xiao Feng; jazz greats Jack deJohnette, Oliver Lake, and Sonny Sharrock; multimedia artists Christian Marclay and Pierre Huyghe; and Bachir Attar, leader of the Master Musicians Of Jajouka.

Sharp is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2014 Fellow at Parson's Center for Transformative Media. He received the 2015 Berlin Prize in Musical Composition from the American Academy in Berlin. He has composed scores for feature films and documentaries; created sound-design for interstitials on The Sundance Channel, MTV and Bravo networks; and has presented numerous sound installations in art galleries and museums. He is the subject of a new documentary "Doing The Don't" by filmmaker Bert Shapiro.

Jü means "flow" in Chinese, referring both to the phenomenon of finding one's place in the world and to the experience of "flow" as complete absorption in the moment, in the music. In the case of Budapest-based supergroup Jü, we can confidently say that the members have found their place and each other through music, with each member perfectly complementing the other to make a new whole.

Each member of Jü is an accomplished player on the Budapest scene. It's tough to count some of bands the guys have played with: drummer András Halmos played with Pop Ivan, Chakra Hacker, Santa Diver, Kampec Dolores, Gadó Gábor, Grencsó István, Ágoston Béla, Tariqa, morningdeer; bassist Ernő Hock with Grencsó Kollektíva, The Qualitions, Zuboly, Dresch Quartet, Manoya; and guitarist Ádám Mészáros with Erik Sumo Band and Péterfy Bori & Love Band. Over the years the members have played with international musicians such as John Zorn, Eugene Chadbourne, Charles Gayle, Chris Potter, William Parker, Hamid Drake, Mikolaj Trzaska.

Jü takes us on a journey into musical territory that otherwise would have remained unexplored. Normal categories and genres don't apply. This is ecstatic music, sometimes giving the impression of strictness as themes are energetically exposed in repetitive swirling patterns reminiscent of psychedelic or noise rock spiced with folk and power-jazz from the gut (but without the slightest hint of retro in the mix). By pushing their instruments to new limits, the members push their entranced audiences from the constantly flowing present into the future. The band opens minds with their clean, open approach and spirited improvisation; always pushing each other and the limits of the composition, but never allowing the structure to fall apart.

The band will release their debut album in November 2014 at RareNoise Records, which they recorded with Norwegian saxaphonist Kjetil Møster. Møster probably needs no introduction since his unique approach to his instrument, at once technical and energetic, has made him one of the most respected and sought-after musicians in both jazz and rock circles. His own bands include The Core, Möster, Gibrish and BRAT, while he has also performed with Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, and as a permanent member of Datarock. As demonstrated during their successful concert in Budapest, these three Hungarians and this Norwegian have lived up to the band's name: Jü. Flow. Finding each other. Complete absorption in the moment, in the music

Text: Zoltan Barotányi

Jü is:
Ádám Mészáros - guitar
Ernő Hock – bass
Andras Halmos - drums

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