Accolades for Friday the 13th

All About Jazz New York
(January 2011) [pdf]

“From the echoes of the bride march kicking off ‘Brilliant Corners’ to the shuffle-tango shout choruses of ‘We See,’ punkish freakouts of ‘Pannonica’ and ‘Teo,’ the Micros welcome us deep into Monk’s, and their, territory.”

(June 2011)

“The recording highlights one of jazz’s tightest units as well as the arranging chops of Phillip Johnston, Joel Forrester and Bob Montalto.”

Village Voice
(May 11, 2011)

“A kaleidoscope of color. Phillip Johnston’s soprano refracts Steve Lacy, while Mike Hashim’s tenor can’t help but swing. A–”

Jazz Times
(March 2011)

Friday the 13th proves, again, that the music of Thelonious Monk is universal, timeless, and open to endless interpretation.”

DownBeat (Review)
“The Micros grab onto Monk’s angular themes giving a new sinew and sheen to tunes like ‘Off Minor,’ the gleaming ballad ‘Panonica’ and the classic set-closer ‘Epistrophy.’... It all adds up to a half-bowing, half-smirking and wholly suitable love-letter to the Monk songbook.” ★★★★

DownBeat Editors' Picks
(December 2010)

“Just about the time you ask yourself, ‘What else can be done with a Monk tune?’ The Microscopic Septet comes in to blow you away... Septet co-leaders Johnston and Forrester have been loving and playing Monk together since the 1970s, and their joy infuses every second of this disc.”

Village Voice
(December 2010)

“Monk's music deserves to be interpreted by artists who know what a funny bone feels like... Call it repertory as romper room, and yes, it takes lots of sobering skills to get such exclamation off the ground.”

The New Yorker (December 6, 2010)
“Although the reunited eighties downtown mainstay the Microscopic Septet features two exceptionally individualistic composers (and superb improvisers),...its latest album, Friday the Thirteenth, is devoted to the music of Thelonious Monk; it is a glorious fit.”

Time Out New York
“Long-running, long-inactive and now bopping again...the band lays up its obvious affinities with Thelonious Monk's wry canon.”

The Northern Echo
(April 14, 2011)

“...a triumph with Monk and The Micros a perfect match.”

LA Weekly
(November 2010)

“Understanding that something old + something new equation is what New York's venerable Microscopic Septet have got down like muscle memory... Wickedly modern interps of Monk's farsightedly skewed visions.”

(January 26, 2011)

“...breezy, swinging arrangements...”

Point of Departure
(October 2010)

“There have been plenty of Monk tributes throughout the years...but few with the intrinsic connection to the material that The Micros Play Monk exudes... Long may they persevere.”

Jazz Inside
“The Microscopic Septet remind the collective Us that jazz was at one time a form of popular music, bringing that sparkle to the table without any pandering to an ‘audience.’ ”

Audiophile Audition
(November 21, 2010)

“What a perfect match! There’s a wonderful feel-good yet hip vibe about everything they do... This is certainly not a dry re-creation of Monk.”

All About Jazz [National]
(January 4 2011)

“Devoid of clichés and the old wine–new bottle equation, The Microscopic Septet, as anticipated, delivers the goods with its signature mode of adventure and quirkiness.”

Wall Street Journal
“A wildly idiosyncratic, devastatingly accomplished ensemble... The septet rarely played a tune written by anyone else; when the group did, more often than not it was one of Mr. Monk's.”

(November 7, 2011)

“A total relief from all that jazz that sounds like jazz. The sound is Monk, even when the arrangements are these other guys having fun.” ★★★★★

“Ideal interpreters of Monk, grandly and luminously highlighting the joyous, fractured quirkiness and innate swing in his compositions... The smooth, assured élan of a big band and the thorny freedom of a small band. Zoot!”

Pop Matters
(February 24, 2011)

“The Micros are ideal interpreters of Thelonious Monk, even if their tribute comes so many years after the fact. It’s a nice, quirky piece of work, just like it ought to be.”

Denver Post
(December 2010)

“This group...has never made the obvious choices. So it makes sense that they would go with some of Monk's lesser-known melodies and make his music their music. Their sense of discovery is as contagious as it was 25 years ago.”

KZSU-FM Zookeeper
(December 2010)

“Fun, freewheeling stuff, with plenty of Monk-isms. Should appeal to fans of modern bop and avant-jazz alike.”

Music And More (All About Jazz)
(October 2010)

“The arrangements that the band has developed keep the uniqueness of Monk's vision while allowing for ample opportunities for the soloists to interpret the music with fine solos and ensemble passages.”

The Living Scotsman
“Infused with the idiosyncratic spirit of adventure that has been their trademark... Even the warhorses here emerge in fresh and engaging colours.”

Cadence Magazine
“A perfect combination. The Micros have always been one of the most original followers of Monk, so now...they can investigate and interpret this music directly, with no hint of imitation.”

Jazzthetik [Germany]
(December 2011)


Jazz Magazine [France]
“There is always a mixture of shimmering orchestrations and smart and inspired improvisations. Invigorating for all lovers of jazz and indispensible to any fan of Sphere!”

Ragazzi [Germany]
“Gorgeous, excellently balanced and energetic new interpretations.”

Musica Jazz [Italy]
“Always in balance between affection and irony, they have been able to pay homage to the tradition without losing their ability to renew, even in a dramatic way. This successful CD is one of the best tributes ever paid to Monk.” ★★★★

Sydney Morning Herald [Australia]
(December 3, 2010)

“They are just the right band for the job, playing with love rather than reverence... The result is enduring and highly entertaining.”

La Scena Jazz [Canada]
(April 2011)

“This sterling and sometimes quirky horn section affords the listener a good opportunity to rediscover Monk's offbeat melodies.”

London Jazz [UK]
(June 2011)

“A joyously celebratory romp through Monk’s music, laced with irreverent humour and sly wit, but always utterly in accord with that most elusive article, the spirit of the composer.”

All Music Guide
(March 2011)

“Longtime fans who think they've heard every possible interesting arrangement of these tunes should think again.”

(October 10, 2010)

“[G]enius is born but it never ages...”

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