I met Javi Santiago through my friend Marian Moore. Javi went to school with Marian’s son Jamie, who is a producer and hip-hop artist. In 2007 Javi was selected to attend the extremely competitive Dave Brubeck Institute and he’s been doing great stuff ever since.
The hilarious thing is this is the first time I’d heard Javi played. Considering how bizarre the piano is I couldn’t believe how great he sounded. I knew right away this was a guy who had it all, swinging, great chord and note choices, great ideas and phrasing.
Last June I was back in Minneapolis and I went down to the Ice House to hear him play on a Friday evening. He sounded great, and although it was a real piano sound, even then it wasn’t a real piano, it was a digital one. Next time I hope to hear him on a Steinway D in a concert hall!
I think its a little obvious that Monk is the perfect music for this piano. And I would be mortified if that was an insult to Monk and his music in any way shape or form. Monk’s music just becomes more and more important in the canon of great music every year, and this year we celebrate the centennial of his birth. But I gotta say it sure sounds cool in this permutation as well, and I like to think he would have enjoyed it.
By the way the editor of this video has the title wrong. The song is “Eronel” not “Ask Me Now”.