Album Review: Gregory Lewis – Organ Monk Coming Home

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.