@ Carmel Center for the Arts

Celebrating Thelonious Monk’s centennial year, this 15-piece big band captures the spirit of the great pianist and composer in fresh arrangements flavored with New Orleans spirit, hip-hop and Afro-Cuban rhythms.

The 2016 debut album, MONK’estra, Volume 1, was lauded as “some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory” by International Review of Music and earned 2 GRAMMY nominations. The second album, MONK’estra Volume 2 released September 01, 2017 earned 2 GRAMMY nominations.

**Sean Jones joining MONK’estra with Kendrick Jones on drums and Ed Neumeister on trombones.

BAND  – Conductor/Arranger/Pianist: John Beasley

Trumpets:  Bijon Watson, Brian Lynch, Scott Wendholt, Sean Jones

Trombones:  Eric Miller, James Burton, Ed Neumeister

Woodwinds:  Erena Terakuba, Oliver Santana, Tom Luer, Greg Tardy, Dave Riekenberg

Bass:  Ben Shepherd

Drums:  Kendrick Scott

Videos: Vol 1: 



Round Midnight                                    

Brake’s Sake @ Ronnie Scotts            

PLAYLIST (Spotify) 15 Monk/MONKestra


“Beasley hits us dead center with studio-smart takes on Monk’s deep book… features rapid-fire surprises, spiky asides and a quirky sense of truthful swing. Beasley’s band will leave you rapt. He brings Monk to life once again for modern-minded listeners. Downbeat – 4.5/5 stars

‘’John Beasley’s bold refashionings of Thelonious Monk once again hit the jackpot. Beasley’s not just breathing new life into Monk’s repertoire – he’s firing up the big band scene.” BBC Music Magazine

“Beasley is a very clever arranger who works his charts hard, and this album is continuously surprising… an ingenious interpreter of Monk conducts like Thad Jones. ” JazzTimes

“MONK’estra brought the project thrillingly to life with their razor-sharp ensemble work and rhythmic authenticity… hip-hop merges with swing and sensuous Ellingtonia sits on a sparse contemporary pulse. Financial Times – 4

Beasley’s Monk’estra set was a dazzling display of fresh interpretations scaled to take full advantage of his sixteen-piece ensemble. The enlightening set closed with vigorous applause from the house.” –AllAboutJazz

“Beasley takes Monk’s sturdy tunes on a joyride for MONK’estra.” New Yorker
“John Beasley, the one-time keyboardist for Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis, whose playing reflects a variety of generational influences, incorporating the emphatic chordal clusters of Herbie Hancock, the rhythmic quirkiness of Monk and the lush intelligence of Art Tatum into a highly refined personal voice.” Los Angeles Times