Blue Monk

Monk By 4

In order of solos
Eric Reed
Benny Green
Kenny Barron
Cyrus Chestnut


Russell Malone, Christian McBride & Benny Green - Jingles

This is a remarkable performance, the percussion-less trio stay amazingly tight. The ability of the bassist really stands out here I think, he doesn’t miss a beat and does a solo that comfortably matches the also excellent work of Russell and Benny. Definitely worth a listen!



Christian McBride - Ray Brown Tribute
Jazz Baltica, Salzau, Germany 2003-07-05


In Walked Bud

Benny Green &
   Cyrus Chestnut piano duet

Clap of Thunder, Usnavi de la Vega x Reader

Prompt:  Hi there ! I know it’s not really a prompt but could you do a usnavi x reader soulmate au ?

Word-count: 1,933 (Woo, boy I was cutting it close.)

Warnings: Like, maybe one curse word? I think? Also, angst. The dark blue, silkier kind. 

Note: Lol I’m not at a hundred, although I’m supposed to post this when I reach a hundred. I couldn’t wait. 

This stuff is angsty, I gotta warn you now. It has a happy ending, don’t worry, but don’t expect the regular sunny Usnavi (this functions a bit as a character study in that regard). Hope you enjoy the trash! 

P.S.: I referenced a fic on ao3 for the mantra, thought I would put it out there!

When it all came down to it, Usnavi was practical.

See, people would say differently; his own childish idealism when it came to the distant seas and golden, sun-drenched beaches of his homeland would contrast sharply with his own self-proclamations of pragmatism. But Usnavi rejects the notion that human beings were capable of being either one thing or the other, so he stands in the middle, comfortable if a little tense at times.

(He’d risked the thought that maybe they couldn’t take him all that seriously when he was recklessly awkward and sometimes too sunny, and also a little bit irritating at times. It would fit in with their assumption.) (And not to mention, he was all of those things. But it also happened that he was all of those things and more.)  

If anything, he would say that his pragmatism stemmed from the stiff, black-and-white nature of how he saw things. Quite literally. It was almost ironic, how he could compose soliloquies and sonnets about the beauty of the Dominican Republic (in that he was sure of, never mind the fact that he actually didn’t know what gold or sea foam or crystalline looked like) and the only things he could see on a day to day basis were the endless swatches of gray and coal and white.

He didn’t know which one of his parents bore the deficit, or maybe if it was perhaps both of them, because Abuela Claudia didn’t know, and all the keepsakes his parents had passed on was given to Abuela to filter.

And as much as he liked to believe in the power of things like love and honest goodness and (the reason for his own predicament) soulmates, when you are robbed by loss at such a young age, it’s hard not to keep a reminder around just in case you start selling yourself too hard to whimsical fantasies:

There is more to life than love. There is more to love than joy.

Usnavi kept that reminder close to his chest, and soon it was routine to mutter it to himself, as routine as wiping down the counters of his bodega, as routine as smiling at Vanessa and scolding Sonny as he was, once again, late.

There is more to life than love. There is more to love than joy.

Benny ran to him first when he started seeing color, and Usnavi couldn’t help it, he felt a stab of envy he couldn’t tap down quick enough.

“I see green, man.” Benny breathed, in awe. “And it’s more beautiful than I thought it was going to be.”

“Really?” He couldn’t keep the straight wonder out of his voice.

“It’s almost alive, man. It’s practically breathing.”

“That’s amazing, Benny.” he said, patting his friend on the back. The man barely noticed him, still looking at the overarching planes of grass that stretched before them in the form of Central Park. They were all still varying shades of gray to Usnavi, but undoubtedly they were lush, exuberant hills to Benny now. He took the mantra out of his chest and started again.

There is more to life than love. There is more to love than joy.

Soon enough, the reason for Benny being able to see color was evident in the reappearance of Nina a few weeks later, looking more stressed than anything else but also looking around with wide eyes. She was seeing blue for the first time. On that very same day, their eyes met on the Rosario family dispatch and the burst of color was powerful enough to have them bowl over.

Usnavi wasn’t sure about too many things, but he was sure that he loved Vanessa. Never mind that he’d looked into her eyes and sure enough, he wasn’t able to see color the next second, but at that point, he was used to (and almost content with) living in a monochromatic world, and if he couldn’t have color, he would have Vanessa.

(She ended up finding her soulmate in her next-door neighbor in her new building, a girl named Georgia who owned three cats and had “the nicest pair of eyes I’ve ever seen”, according to Vanessa. Usnavi handled the news, her pitying gaze, with a grain of salt, and the typical repetition:

There is more to life than love. There is more to love than joy.)

He was on his way home from the bodega when it happened.

He had dropped something, a bag of groceries, and he had sighed, looked at the mess and bent down to pick up all that had fallen. He had put away the last carton of milk and was stretching back up to his normal height, but a flash of something stopped him.

The fire hydrant.

Usnavi had to rub at his eyes. There was no way. No.

He waited for the blur in his vision to fade (he had rubbed quite hard) and fixed his gaze on the fire hydrant again. There was no questioning it.

The fire hydrant was no longer gray.

It was angry, and hot, and colored so vividly it stabbed at his eyes. Red, he realized.

How much time he spent staring at that fire hydrant, he didn’t know. It was only when the brilliant light of the sun began to fade that he looked up. God.

There was so much to see.

It was in the middle of October, and almost everything was rendered into differing, varying shades of red. Usnavi stood there for what felt like forever, taking it all in. He recalled what Benny said to him about green.

It’s almost alive, man. It’s practically breathing.”

Perhaps it could apply to others?

He finally started moving, his hands going to his face and feeling a slight jolt at the wetness he found on his cheeks. With a great sniff, he wiped his nose on the sleeve of his shirt and departed to his apartment. He had a hell of a lot to tell Sonny.

There was apparently a new girl in town. Usnavi would be more curious about her if she wasn’t moving into Vanessa’s old apartment. (It was still a relatively fresh wound, and even if the telltale sign that his soulmate was near was literally right before his eyes, he had loved Vanessa, and that mattered.)

Sonny had delivered the news to him as he walked in the bodega one morning, as late as he ever was. He had talked to her, because he was Sonny and that was what he did.

“Really pretty,” Sonny said, hopping onto the counter Usnavi just wiped. “Really friendly. Also, single.”

Usnavi rolled his eyes. “I’ll consider it then,” he said, not really meaning it.

The next day however, he was at the doorstep of the aforementioned new girl, holding a cup of coffee and a pastry, hoping to be some kind of welcome wagon. He pressed the buzzer multiple times but to no avail. Instead, he dropped off the to-go cup and the pastry (it was in a bag anyway,) on the doormat.

He looked at the cup again, thinking. Before he could second-guess himself, he picked it back up, fumbled for the Sharpie he always kept in his pocket, and scrawled on the cup:

Hi there!

Consider this a Welcome to the Neighborhood gift.

The bodega across the street

He walked back, waving to anyone who stopped and said hello. The bell above the door tinkled as he made his entrance.

Sonny’s head popped up from behind the counter.

“Any luck?”

Usnavi shook his head. Sonny bit down on his bottom lip, but did not press the issue.

He’s only been seeing red recently. Benny said that he was supposed to be seeing more by now. Usnavi paid it no mind. The old mantra was still being put to use, although it was starting to rust a little.

There is more to life than love. There is more to love than joy.

He heard you before he saw you.

“Yeah, hi, is this, um, ‘the bodega across the street’? Okay, wow that was dumb. It’s just that, um, someone left coffee and a donut on my doorstep and it said it was from the bodega across the street and I checked and this was the bodega across the street and anyway—“

“Yes, we are indeed the, uh, ‘bodega across the street’.” Sonny said, amused. “Excuse the mystery, my cousin wrote that on your cup.”

“Oh.” There was a pause. “Can you tell your cousin ‘Thank you’? He didn’t have to do that, and it was honestly really nice that he did.”

Usnavi, all the while, was making another cup of coffee completely identical to the one he left on the doormat. He couldn’t understand what suddenly came over him, but he had heard you, and you sounded lovely, and all he knew was that he wanted to hear more. He was hastily pouring on foam when he heard Sonny say:

“Will that be all?”

“Yeah, that’d be all.”

Without thinking, he burst out of the back of the shop.


Sonny was smirking, and the cash register was open, the money already half-way into it, but his eyes sought out yours.

It was as sudden as a clap of thunder.

One minute, all was as it normally was, if for the stray shocks of red that stood out from the bleak backdrop of gray and black and white he was for so long accustomed to. He had so long settled himself into that world, had so long contented himself to that world completely devoid of color save for a scant handful. He had convinced himself, after all, that things like the promise of soulmates were seductive but seemed more distant than the Dominican Republic ever was. He had made peace with that didn’t he?

What was that old epithet he had attached to his heart the minute he understood that things like love and honest goodness and soulmates had the potential to turn on you as easily as they could welcome you with open arms?

“It’s you,”

And then the curse is broken, and he is looking at you, and the world is awash with life and renewed and reborn, and you are at the very center of it, with your eyes and your hair and your skin.

He stepped forward, slipped, because he had dropped the coffee the minute his eyes met yours and also because he is Usnavi and this kind of shit always happened. Sonny caught him around the waist and hauled him up, and when he felt himself stable enough, he planted his hands on the counter for extra leverage, and looked at you again.

There were tears in your (wonderful, wonderful) eyes as you looked back at him, and you were shaky on your feet (although you were certainly much more balanced than he was).

“It’s you,” you said. He nodded, trying to get rid of the molasses sticking the sides of his throat together.

He stuck his hand out, remembering to pass it along his pant leg to take off the sheen of cold sweat, cleared his throat. “Usnavi,” he said.

Your smile was bright, as bright as the yellow dress you wore. “Y/N,” you said, your hand slipping into his and a shock of pure, undiluted fire passed through him.

The laugh of absolute jubilation that escaped him was as irrepressible as the tears streaming down his face.

“Wonderful,” he said, ignoring Sonny and hopping over the counter. He grabbed your other hand.


What few people, apart from musicians, have never seemed to grasp is that he is not simply the best popular singer of his generation…but the culminating point in an evolutionary process which has refined the art of interpreting words set to music. Nor is there even the remotest possibility he will have a successor. Sinatra was the result of a fusing of a set of historical circumstances which can never be repeated.
—  Benny Green on Frank Sinatra

Softly as in a Morning Sunrise - Michael Brecker

Freshman Orientation ( Meet Jerome)

@preciousluv35 this thing gon be good I can feel it.

“You’d think these mother fuckers never seen porn or something. I never understood that. They’d rather watch and potentially fuck up a man’s good time. Like fuck.” Holly gave me a look like she knew exactly what I was saying and where I was coming from. Holly, she had been in my hip pocket all day. Crazy part is I didn’t mind. It didn’t even feel like we had just met today. The way her legs were shaking it was like I knew her body. Her vibe was on point too. But shit clearly, we weren’t the only ones that hit it off. My bro was getting topped off in the breeze way and it was only orientation. Perhaps the stars were all aligned just right. “Holly, you wanna lose the group?”

“You read my mind, didn’t you?” Her voice was sweeter than the smoothest melody I had ever heard.

“If you say so. Where you want to go?”

“Anywhere but here with them.” Holly smiled at me bashfully.

“It’s whatever.” I thought for a second. “How bout I walk you back to your dorm to get ready for later?”

“Ok, I mean we are way across the campus, that’ll give us a little time to talk and really get acquainted.” She looked giving me the side eye.

“So, what made you choose Southern?” She asked me.

“Man if I tell you, you’d probably deem me a fool.”

“You think so?”


“Try me.”

“We have time, so I guess I should start from the beginning.”

“Boy, I’m listening. Go ahead.”

Shit I met Darryl in the first, no second grade. We actually had a fight over some damn Pokémon cards. I’ll never forget it was a holographic one too. The teacher separated us and ended up calling our parents out to the school. I knew my ass was about to be handed to me to. 9 times out of 10 it was going to be right in front of the class too. Shitting bricks for 2 hours was the absolute worst. After being tortured for 2 hours, the classroom door opened. I didn’t even look up, just heard the class go “Ooooooohhhhhhhh”. I knew this was going to be bad. My mom pierced my soul with her eyes as she approached Mrs. Fletcher. Soon as she motioned for me to come up to the desk the door swung open again. Darryl’s ole girl approached the teacher’s desk as well with an obvious scowl. It brought me a little touch of vengeance knowing he was in the same boat as me. Her face changed as she reached the desk. “Beverly?” She said, directing her attention to my mom. “Sandra?” My mom shot back. They hugged so tight and the mood instantly changed. We had just moved back to Miami from Orlando. Come to find out Ms. Sandra was my mom’s best friend back in high school. They got so caught up in their thing we had gotten lost in the shuffle. From then things for Darryl and I were completely different. The next evening mom and I had dinner over at their house. I was sure not to bring any toys, furthermore no cards. I was reluctant to play with him, still had a little heat on my chest for him. But shit at that age nothing lasted long. The more our moms hung, so too did we. Wasn’t long before we became play cousins. We began to play on all our little league teams together, where we both outshined our competition. Just I was on offense mostly and he was on defense. Shit, by the time we were freshmen in high school our moms couldn’t tell who stayed where. He was my brother and nothing or no one would change that. Also, by this time we’d created one hell a buzz from our performance. Darryl also had the help of his pedigree. His dad was the late legendary Benny Green.  Darryl having his stature and seemingly his talent Darryl was on the radar of D1 schools already. All he had to do is put up decent numbers, which were all but given. Me, I didn’t have the pedigree but my skill set was unique in its own right. Freshman year I played JV while D. played Varsity. Two games in I was moved up though. I didn’t see much playing time (PT) but I did get to learn the schemes and playbooks. Darryl was starting mid-way thru the season, while I was in the weight room and playbooks. I hated not seeing the field, but I understood the process. Already talented, I grew stronger and bigger. By the time playoffs were in the mention I had moved up the depth chart. I had put on 15lbs of muscle, I had a firm understanding of the playbook. All I needed was an opportunity to showcase my ability at this level.

When Marcus, the starting running back went down Mason couldn’t keep pace. We had our seat locked for the playoffs but we wouldn’t last long if something didn’t change. On a whim, I was shoveled into the last game of the regular season. This was no pushover opponent either. Hell, in Miami only a handful of schools could be deemed a push over. Despite the butterflies, I went in on a mission. I ripped that shit. I had 172 yards and 2 touchdowns in my first game action. It was clear that the dynamic duo would still reign for the next few years. Darryl and I would lead our school to two state titles and ourselves, we had the pick of schools really. We concocted a plan to stay together no matter what happened. He was my brother.

In school, he got more of the spotlight given his background. Even more for the fact that he really didn’t mess with the school girls. That left the girl’s imaginations to run wild. He was mister perfect, mister untouchable. In a way that only helped my stock with the ladies. They would try to befriend me to get to him. But they ended up in my bed in the process. Darryl had a sweet deal. I would have done the same thing in his position. So that was high school, for the most part. That is until shit went left as fuck. We’d early enrolled at UF in their spring semester, this was so we could get into the college way of things and as well have an immediate impact on the field. Shit was going as planned and was looking promising. Then there was graduation. That’s when my bro became the talk of the sports world. I knew of his arrangement and with Ms. Jones and how Ms. Tarver was sweating him too. But, the brawl that ensued at graduation was just the fuel the tabloids needed to tarnish Darryl’s reputation. Within a week he was no longer welcomed at the University of Florida. Not only that, all the coaches and schools  across the nation who’d professed their love for him and their want to have him join their institution had all but disappeared into a cloud of dark smoke. When the world turned their back on him, I kept my promise and we went where we were still a valued commodity.

“So you gave up a D1 ride to come to the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference)” Holly was stunned as her building came into view.

“Yeah, I did.” I knew she was scratching her head. “See the thing is I believe in our talent, I know it will get us a seat at the table at the next level. We just have to show the world.”

“Hmph, I don’t know if you made the right decision, but I respect you for sticking by your brother.” She gave me a discerning smile as she wrestled with what I had just divulged. “What a gentleman walking me to the door.”

“Yeah?” I said just as it swung open and a woman began screaming at me! The rules here were so different from UF. There, it  was nothing to really impede fraternization between sexes, other than we couldn’t share a room.  I was a pro at diffusing situations, especially with the ladies! Once I had her calm I took my leave. Holly was trying hard to be a bad girl…. I really hoped she take my advice and stop trying to be like her girl. Something must have happened to make her take such a drastic turn because it was obvious this was a new game for her. But could I convince her that being with me was better than being a thot? I grabbed my phone as I was passing through the courtyard.

Me: Hey Thanks for kicking it with me, I enjoyed you.

Holly: Oh really Mr. Big Shot.

Me: Damn why I gotta be all that?

Holly: Cuz… I said so

Me: Damn Homie

Holly: No damn, Naw I enjoyed making me cum too…

Holly: I mean I enjoyed my time too

Me: Ha, you nasty

Holly: You talking?

Me: Man whateva, It’s 4:30 now, pick you up around 8?

Holly: Uh huh, make it 7:45…. I got something for you

Me: Oh really now…. Bet