Brilliant Coroners
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Brilliant Coroners

Band Jazz Punk


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No two ways about it, their scalpels are sharp. Of course they're not alone in exhuming and examining Monk. His body of work has been carved up a million ways. These guys do it with a loving smirk. - Village Voice

This isn't your average Thelonious Monk cover band. The High Priest's chunks of knotty inspiration are infused with punk energy. - Time Out NY


Brilliant Coroners - Brilliant Coroners (Yeah Man records)



Brilliant Coroners History

Do you enjoy Thelonious Monk’s music but feel that everyone’s playing it the same way? Tired of hearing Stanley Crouch mouth off about how “jazz” should or should not be played? Are you a young trumpeter/composer/arranger named John McDonough? Then find out how to create your own “Thelonious Monk cover band” in twelve easy steps:

The Official Brilliant Coroners 12-Step Program

Step 1: Read Stereo Review. Notice that the album That’s The Way I Feel Now - A Tribute To Thelonious Monk gets an Honorable Mention in their 1984 Record of the Year Awards. Go to Salesian High School. Casually mention to Father John Marcantonio about the aforementioned tribute album. By chance he has the album and loans it to you. Become fascinated not only with Monk’s music, but also with the fact that the music sounds like it was written by the same guy even when arranged in a variety of styles.

Step 2: Go to Hofstra University for a degree in Jazz & Commercial Music (you fool!). Meet and play with keyboardist Andy Pritikin, who shares a love of Monk’s music and a variety of musical styles.

Step 3: Listen repeatedly to aforementioned tribute album. Become fascinated with track featuring John Zorn. Start listening to Zorn’s music extensively (actually, become obsessed with his music).

Step 4: Answer ad in Village Voice for The Poppies, a really bad, retro, phony hippie rock “orchestra” that goes nowhere, fast. Meet Tom Shad, a recorder player, who’s in reality a bass player.

Step 5: Go to performance of John Zorn’s Cobra at the Knitting Factory in 1992. Nervously ask Evan Gallagher, one of the performers, to explain the piece to you. Start conducting open rehearsals of Cobra at Context studios on Ave. A in NYC, with the help of Evan Gallagher. Invite Andy Pritikin and Tom Shad to the rehearsals, as well as guitarists Roger Kleier & Bob Lipman, drummers Ron Thaler & Rob Garcia (Don’t worry - this all fits together).

Step 6: Talk with Bob about Monk. Bob casually remarks about forming a “post-punk” Monk group.

Step 7: Write out arrangements of Monk’s tunes using a variety of styles, including jazz, funk, heavy-metal, punk, and free improv. Have Andy contribute some charts, too.

Step 8: Finally form group after a 2 year wait. Unfortunately, Bob has given up the guitar and moved to France. Use Roger, Andy, Tom, Ron (sometimes Rob) yourself on trumpet, and whatever alto sax player is interested that week. With the help of Evan, start playing at the Knot room at the original Knitting Factory.

Step 9: Go through a number of alto sax players, guitarists and drummers. Finally settle on Karel Ruzicka on alto, Ed Littman on guitar and Hari Ganleberger on drums.

Step 10: Consistently pack the Alterknit Theater and Tap Bar at the new Knitting Factory. Open for Royal Crown Revue and Jef Lee Johnson in the Main Space at said club. Also play as part of the 1998 Texaco New York Jazz Festival and the 1999 Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival

Step 11: Record CD. Go into massive debt getting it manufactured.

Step 12: Continue to play in and around NYC, in such clubs as the Blue Note, Bowery Poetry Cafe an the Jazz Standard.

Congratulations! You have successfully completed the 12 step program. You should now be free of your boring day job. If not, repeat step 12 until job is non-existent and you are making mad cash.

Members of Brilliant Coroners have played with Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Markk Egan, Danny Gottlieb and the Blue Man Group.