This New York City based organist is immersed in jazz, funk and blues. And for his latest album, Lewis has chosen to interpret the work of Thelonious Monk. Fronting a spare trio (himself plus guitarist Kevin McNeal and Nasheet Watts on drums), Lewis cut the album in a pair of one-day sessions. The vibe is up close and personal, and the character strikes a good balance between faithful readings and personal expression. Lewis also does a fine job of choosing material, splitting it between well-known numbers like “Brilliant Corners” and lesser-known material.
The set includes one Lewis original, the set closer “Jaclyn’s Eyes.” I had half expected it to show the influence that Monk has upon his compositional style, but the tune is quite different, with more of a gospel-meets fusion flavor (if one can imagine such a thing). Taken as a whole, though, Jazz Monk Coming Home is expertly played, subtly rendered and engaging.