Monk had his own personal harmonic and rhythmic language, which, coupled with his unorthodox approach to the piano-the way he coaxed sound from the keys of the piano-made his pianist's voice in the rhythm section totally unique.
Riley's no-piano Monk Legacy Septet lets varying combinations of horns and guitar explore Monk's accompaniment role, using Monk's own unique palette of harmonies and rhythms. Ben can once again react to the familiar Monk language and accents, now being spoken by alto or soprano sax, trumpet, tenor sax, baritone sax and guitar. The combination of these different instrumental timbres, without piano, creates a refreshing new canvas of sound for exploring Monk's music.
Sickler's arrangements dissect and re-construct Monk's comping and solos so the Septet's voices can echo Monk's original thoughts and phrases, inspiring Riley's responses.
As one excited audience member said after the group's debut performance at the Village Vanguard in NYC, "This band ROCKS!"