Composer: Jeff Beal.
Personnel: Grant Geissman (guitar).
Audio Mixer: Jeff Beal.
Liner Note Author: Jeff Beal.
Recording information: Many Rooms Music, CA.
Monk collects the highlights of Jeff Beal's incidental music for the quirky detective series. Several of Beal's happy-go-lucky pieces are inspired by the continental jazz and swing of artists like Django Reinhardt, particularly on tracks like "Monk's Theme," and the whimsical diversity and expressiveness of likeminded soundtrack composers such as Thomas Newman pop up on pieces like "Miming Mr. Monk," "Keys in the Casket," and "Love These Sneaks." Not surprisingly for the score of a detective comedy series, many tracks, such as "They're Killing Dr. Gould" and "I Think I Smell Gas," convey a sneaky, tiptoeing atmosphere with pizzicato strings and subtle piano and woodwind motifs. Though all of Monk's pieces are brief -- with few lasting over a minute or two -- Beal's aesthetic for the score is so consistent that it gives the album an overall unity. Even more serious and dramatic pieces, like "Rejection" and "Monk Visits the Garage," tie into the rest of the score's light, restrained feel. The score's other highlights include "Trudy's Theme," a pretty, enigmatic piece with more layers and emotions in it than might be expected; the sweet but not overly sentimental "My Hero"; and "The Final Chase," the album's darkest and longest cut. Ultimately, Monk is more mischievous than mysterious, but its witty, lighthearted feel makes it work surprisingly well outside of the context of the show. ~ Heather Phares