Propensity was released in 2010 on Comuse Records

Ben Higham - trumpet, flugelhorn and tuba
Simon Youngman - soprano and alt sax
Mark Read - bass trumpet and tuba
Ivars Galenieks - double bass
Geoff Charlton - drums

As the band’s name suggests, this is a project dedicated to the singular music of pianist Thelonious Monk from a young UK-based quintet. The first thing that catches attention even before playing the album is that the line-up is conspicuously lacking Monk’s own instrument……… Higham and Youngman have explored the work of Monk before, as well as fellow US iconoclasts Charles Mingus and Herbie Nichols. Their approach to Monk’s familiar music is a pleasing mix of respect and experiment, and there is nothing ultimately gimmicky about their use of the non-canonical instrumental line-up.

Kenny Mathieson (Issue 649) January 2010

The group’s mission is to celebrate and explore the Monk repertoire without being mere Monk imitators. To this end the project is generally successful as the band work their way through some of the master’s well known compositions and a couple less so. Man in Astrakhan is an original written by trumpeter Ben Higham and follows the general principles of Monk’s methods.

Monk’s ethos is well captured on Nutty and his lovely ballad Pannonica gets a suitably sympathetic rendition ... (The) bass is strong and impressive throughout….interplay with (the) tuba(s) on Misterioso is engaging and the conversations between the drums and the other instruments on Man in Astrakhan are compelling. …The first five tracks swing well enough but after that the music becomes even darker and heavier with the swing element diminishing considerably. This is an interesting and unusual addition to the Monk college and worth seeking out if you are tempted by the idea of a pianoless group interpreting the music of the unique Monk.

Bryan Robinson, Jazz Journal April 2010

Monk Inc’s Propensity is also highly recommended…. It re-examines a small part of Monk’s legacy, but does so in ways that reveal how much more there is still to discover and understand in the composer’s work.

Duncan Heining, Jazz UK Feb/March 2010

The band's approach, given that Monk's own instrument is missing from the mix, places the pieces' melodies and harmonies firmly centre-stage, the latter often attractively astringent (though 'Nutty' is downright sour), the former accentuated by unfussy, spare arrangements and concise soloing.

The rhythm-section work, from the opening 'Brake's Sake' to the closer, 'Bye Ya', infuses the whole with a pleasantly galumphing power..., except during the almost military snap imparted to 'Jackie-ing', and Galenieks booms and propels impressively throughout. Overall, an intriguingly original take on the Monk canon.

Chris Parker February 2010