Tunes on Tuesday: Ask Me Now

Why this tune?

We’re just past the birthday of Thelonious Monk on October 10, a reminder that it’s always a good idea to spend some time with his music. One of my favorite Monk tunes is “Ask Me Now,” a lovely ballad he first recorded in 1951. As you might expect, many other players have recorded fine versions of this tune over the years (Second Hand Songs lists almost 170 instrumental recordings). One to check out is a solo tenor sax version by Melissa Aldana from 2014, which you can hear below.

Dig this detail!

I first came across Ask Me Now in Karrin Allyson’s recording from her 1996 album “Collage,” where she sings Jon Hendricks’ lyrics, which he titled “How I Wish”. Hendricks made a great tune greater, complementing Monk’s beautiful melody with a story of love and regret. Carmen McRae recorded the first version in 1990. Her recording is also worth a listen. 

Hear the story

Check it out!

Monk, 1951

Monk plays “Ask Me Now” on solo piano

Melissa Aldana plays “Ask Me Now” on solo tenor

Karrin Allyson sings “Ask Me Now”

Carmen McRae sings “Ask Me Now” (“How I Wish”)

Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer in Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology professional working at a small DC nonprofit

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