John: Guitar Ensemble
Joe: Bass
Tim: Drums

  1. Monk In The Alley Project X 1:55
  2. Out There Project X 12:13
  3. Sound For Cecil Project X 9:33
  4. Work In Progress 3 Project X 6:45
  5. Jivin' Jaco Project X 8:21

Project X: Monk in the Alley [12/16/2007]

Cover Art: On the Beach, Joe Love 1991, Mixed Media and collage

John: Guitar Ensemble
Joe: Bass
Tim: Drums

Majestic vibe sounds emanate from john’s guitar ensemble. Joe’s bass is souped up by the engineer for this session a vast improvement. Joe and John play a game of cat and mouse with the monk. One plays an echo of the other, or rather plays a prophecy of what’s to follow. This song, named for Thelonious Monk, is, oracle-ly, played much like a hesitant and diverging Monk composition. Perhaps a hint of Milt Jackson and the early Modern Jazz Quartet crossed with later Miles Davis. Very jazzy cool tune.

Out There
John: Guitar Ensemble
Joe: Bass
Tim: Drums

Named in part for (or in mind of) Eric Dolphy’s stellar string of “Out” records of the early sixties. Again, the funky bass line is made funkier by the wah effect by the seasoned sound engineer TL. Tim keeps a coolly restrained but free beat on the backbeat on the stringently squawking bass. What is “out there” in this tune is John’s sounds of space minimalist guitar that floats like a translucent nebulae amidst the looped but laid back universe created by the rhythm brothers, a truly pleasurable ride through space and time. John’s remarkable ability to constantly add something new and then “talk” like a spirit into the darkness of the great temptress chaos with a defiant and pervasively enigmatic message of his own is what keeps the ear poised on the edge of its seat. Beautiful ending. Really just a resting place along the Monk’s journey.

Sounds for Cecil
John: Guitar Ensemble
Joe: Keyboards
Tim: Drums

A title dedicated Cecil Taylor the brilliant co-founder of free jazz. Taylor created atonal percussive piano pieces amidst worlds of African (American) drumming. This piece works in its own atonal way, a D note spread across all the instruments. John’s nighttime sounds of insects and bells creates more atonal ambiance and hints of African hillsides until the bending call of the wild eventually calls up the guitar’s own two word calling, a calling whose impertinence and stick to it tiveness eventually creates there in the landscape a guitar as hard-edged as a black diamond which becomes the instrument through which he creates an authentic Japanese-like scraping tool against the strings. The bells are looped along from the beginning. Tim stays in a subdued African mode, heavy toms. Midway through we hear a quiet and quite atmospheric hovering in a place much like where “Out There” may have been headed. Quite alien. Quite delicious. Quite beautiful. Some of the most pleasing avant-garde, or “out” jazz, ever created. It feels good all the bent notes are in the right places and the bells make us brave enough to venture further into this holy alley of sound.

Work in Progress 3
John: Guitar Ensemble
Joe: Keyboards
Tim: Drums

Further continuation into the heart of what’s “out there.” Perhaps this whole time it’s been the internal journey of a monk in the alley, thus the name of the album. We have the quiet and minimal thoughts of a reticent man completely out of his element in a dark creepy alley on the lower east side, dodging rats and counting beads as they pass through his calloused fingertips. The occasional sound of a cat knocking over bits of trash. Faces at the windows stare. But he doesn’t see. His eyes aren’t open. He walks blind. His heart beats much too hard and quickly. He’s not in his abbey. He’s in an alley. Walking. Slowly, Thinking. Thinking why. Why am I here? Who created me? Why did he put me here? Am I any more than an electrical impulse across the synapse of a brain somewhere? I can feel the eyes on the back of my head . . .

Jaco’s joint
John: Guitar Ensemble
Joe: Bass
Tim: Drums

The slow ride is over. The walk is no more. All is on the run now. Legs, cars, rocket ships’ all are steaming up to get back “out there,” away from this crazed world of quick relentless anxiety. Joe and Tim are a tightly knit duo of intense reprimanding. John plays with the listeners in mind, daring them to stay aloof and go insane.