Cadence Oct – Nov – Dec 2011
Toronto residents Ken Aldcroft and Dave Clark took the name Hat and Beard from an Eric Dolphy tune written as a tribute to Thelonious Monk, which “Live at Somewhere There” also is. Both players have broad backgrounds in several musical genres, but their present effort remains true to the Bebop origins of Monk’s music, albeit brought up to date by their own experiences. This recording really is an equally-shared project. Aldcroft may be the melody player, but Clark’s multifaceted rhythms and varied beat styles are always up front as well, with the pair consistently working well as a team. Aldcroft has a superior technique and an easy command of the improvisational vocabulary needed to deal with Monk’s music. And Clark is comfortable with a multiplicity of rhythmic underpinnings, all of which swing. The live ambiance is enhanced by utterances from the players, including occasional instructions as to what comes next, as when Clark tells Aldcroft to “comp” during an up-coming section.