Just What It Says:
Don Pullen Plays Monk

IN WALKED BUD (alt take)
Don Pullen
Don Pullen Plays Monk
Paddle Wheel : 1984

DP, piano.

Dear C,

Do you ever get tired of the sound of your own voice? We’re starting to get weary of our words, or maybe better put, we’re getting weary of the tone of them. Sometimes it feels like we’re constantly throwing our hands in the air and crying “Hosanna!” over each album we feature here. There’s no shortage of lost treasures that have languished in obscurity and richly deserve their moment of  praise — but we wonder if our accolades have started to lose some of their value. If a sort of inflation is setting in.

We were thinking of you when we pulled out our dusty copy of Don Pullen Plays Monk and how much you’d dig it. We were all ready to go into “Hallelujah!” mode about one of your favorite pianists tackling the work of another, about how Pullen’s bravura mix of delicate sensitivity and careening abandon was misunderstood upon release, about how there have been so many Monk tributes over the years but few as bracing and beautiful, about how–

But ultimately we couldn’t do it. Since you’ve moved away to the West and we don’t see you every other day in the ‘hood, we’re less inclined to raise our voice and gesticulate wildly about our latest discovery. We don’t get to talk enough period and maybe the hyped-up excitement feels like an unnecessary indulgence. So we’re talking to you now with the actual sound of our voice, a little tired but still present.

We’re saying: These tracks made us think of you.

We’re saying: We hope you’ll give them a few spins.

We’re saying: Baby, enjoy.

The Boys From D:O

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Buy this wonderful record.

Discussion5 Comments Category Don Pullen Tags ,

5 Responses to Just What It Says:
Don Pullen Plays Monk

  1. Great description of Mr. Pullen’s playing – “delicate sensitivity and careening abandon”. Saw him play solo at the Public Theater (opening for The Art Ensemble of Chicago) and, up until I read those 4 words above, the best I could say was “O my!”
    Thanks for reminding me how fine a musician Don Pullen was.

  2. Thanks a lot, hearing Don Pullen is always a joy. Moasic did a nice Select set of some of his Blue Nore work a while back and I am hoping that the Black Saint re-issue program can be kept going with a nice Pullen boxed set. His collaboration with George Adams was sublime, but don’t sleep on the album Evidence of Things Unseen – what a great record.

  3. A Black Saint box (already out in Europe) is due for US release in April. I had previously been deterred from buying the ‘Plays Monk’ CD by the lukewarm review on the All Music site, but have been undeterred after listening to the tracks posted here.

  4. I wore out (at least) one copy of Pullen’s solo recording on Sackville back in the seventies. What a wonderful sound and conception, really singular. Thanks for sharing this material!

  5. Thanks for the astute comments, as always.

    @Stephen: we’re off to get that Sackville recording. Looks like it is available as a d/l as part of Sackville’s limited “classics” reissue program: e.g., http://www.emusic.com/listen/#/album/don-pullen/solo-piano-album/12364625/.

    @Tim: that Mosaic set is also now available as a d/l, as part of what is confusingly labeled as the “Capitol Vaults” series: http://www.emusic.com/listen/#/album/don-pullen/the-capitol-vaults-jazz-series/13067034/ (not bad for $9.70, if a eMu subscriber). Also at Amazon’s mp3 store, at $10.49: http://www.amazon.com/The-Capitol-Vaults-Jazz-Series/dp/B005DJIG7C. Kinda crazy. Also, agree re THINGS UNSEEN!

    @John: those Black Saint boxes are amazing/a curse!

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