Hat & Beard

"Hat and Beard" is Eric Dolphy's tribute-through-looking-glass piece for Thelonious Monk on the classic Blue Note recording, Out to Lunch! Like its namesake composition, this pair pays Monk's perennially vanguard music fair respect by re-envisioning it in an unconventional way. Ken Aldcroft and Dave Clark have absorbed huge chunks of Monk's songbook, and traipse both down well-trodden paths with familiar material like "Epistrophy" and through the thornier thicket of little-tackled gems like "Brilliant Corners". Overtly, Ken tends to play the straight man in the face of Dave's combination of chops and comedic flair that is reminiscent of none other than Han Bennink. At times though – like Bennink's Monk-theorist foil, Misha Mengelberg – Ken can subvert the tune from within it, and playfully prod Dave to keep up with him. In this way, Hat and Beard is a fun and joyful romp through one of the great compositional legacies of the past century.

Ken's partner in Hat and Beard, drummer Dave Clark is equally well-known for his role in legendary prog rock band, The Rheostatics, and for his thirteen-year leadership of the inimitable, celebratory, inclusive improvising orchestra, The Woodchoppers Association. With the Woodchoppers, Dave has performed with hundreds and hundreds of the finest and most creative musicians in Toronto and elsewhere. He also has traveled with an envoy of Woodchoppers to Mali and to Cuba on musical exchanges, and recorded and toured extensively throughout Canada in the summer of 2007 with Malian kamelan n'goni virtuoso, Jah Youssouf. Dave also leads the Woodshed Orchestra, a vehicle for his unique and joyful songs.

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