Always know monk

© René Mosele

© René Mosele

A new light shed on monk’s repertoire

Since their first interpretations between the 40’s and 60’s, Thelonous Monk’s composition have never stopped fascinating and inspiring jazz musicians of all genres and all generations.

Born from this fascination, Always Know Monk is a kaleidoscopic variation of the composer’s repertoire, as seen through the lense of its numerous interpretations, from Bud Powell to Alexander Von Schlippenbach, and Steve Lacy to Paul Motian.

The music pieces are treated like puzzle pieces, completing each other and connecting via the « monkisms » that are omnipresent in them. Always Know Monk is both a respectful tribute and a mischievous appropriation of Monk’s legacy.

For this first project as a leader, Yves Marcotte has chosen young musicians and close friends that can render Monk’s music’s inherent vitality and playfulness, while proposing a creative and personal approach.


Yves Marcotte • bass, arrangement
Shems Bendali • trumpet, fluegelhorn
Zacharie Canut • alto and tenor saxophones
Nathan Vandenbulcke • drums, percussions


EPK (en)

"Always know monk"

Artwork: Renan Richard-Kobel

Artwork: Renan Richard-Kobel


Recorded in one day in december 2016, the group’s debut album is a first milestone in the life of a band, the birth of a sound, a common sense of groove and music. The group’s effort crystallizes on arrangements that are both demanding and open to what’s happening in the moment.

Most of the tune played here, such as Shuffle Boil, Introspection and Gallop’s Gallop are some of the less played of Monk’s tunes, and those who are well known (like Criss Cross and Pannonica) appear here in slightly different forms.

The album was recorded and mixed by Benoît Corboz at Studio du Flon (Lausanne) and mastered by Emil Spanyi (LDF Studios Paris). The artwork is by Renan Richard-Kobel.


A quartet playing Monk… Again ? Yes, but without piano… Really ? Yves Marcotte and his young comrades go at it with rare inventivity. Thelonious’ themes are combining like electrons on the loose, with briming vitality and unwavering musicality. Each musician takes part in the collective effort with enough brio to make of a potential mess a something furiously homogenous. It’s remarkable from beginning to end, round as a sphere, and fascinating as kaleidoscopes can be. The whirling dervish from Rocky Mount would have loved this take on his work, surprisingly free and respectful at the same time.
[...] for this first album as a leader, Yves Marcotte raises the bar quite high. Highly recommended
— Yves Dorison, Culture Jazz
[Yves Marcotte] makes of this heritage an organic matter where the themes cast a light on each other evoking the kind of joy [Monk’s] universe shares with Don Cherry’s ‘Complete Communion’.
— Franck Bergerot, Jazz Magazine
[...] Everything is taylor-made for the ensemble, and if the album is a bit short (a good LP), it is dense and intense, which is essential for this repertoire. Each musician brings both swing and invention, and is in the spirit of the music […]
It’s a great success, a kind of unexpected synthesis between two worlds : Monk’s, so personal, and jazz from the sixties onward, around post bop and free jazz. The musicians’ ear do wonders. For those who love , a little puzzle of what happened in this rich period, around one of jazz’s greatest composers. Bravo to the group and the arranger !
— Yves Sportis, Jazz Hot
A very touching album revisiting Monk’s Compositions
— Alex Dutilh, Open Jazz, France Musique