Blue(grass) Monk video from The Steeps

We have a bunch of new music to share today, starting with this live video that The Steep Canyon Rangers recorded earlier this year at MerleFest.

It’s their reimagining of one of the most iconic blues numbers in the jazz canon, Blue Monk, written by the great pianist, Thelonious Monk, in the ’60s. A tune that every jazz student learns early in their music education – like Cripple Creek or Old Joe Clark in our world – the Steeps have placed it in a style much like Bill Monroe’s swing pieces from the time when rock ‘n’ roll was starting to eat away at his radio time. Think Bluegrass Stomp or Bluegrass Special, played in Bb.

This version of Blue Monk will appear on North Carolina Songbook, a live album the Steep Canyon Rangers will release on November 29 for Record Store Day on Black Friday. The project is a special tribute to their home state and its rich musical tradition, including songs from Monk to James Taylor to Ben E King to Doc Watson, all done up in a Steep Canyon style.

Look for it at your favorite record store just after Thanksgiving.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.