It’s been a while since Leon Lee Dorsey released an album under his own name. But with the release of MonkTime, his entrancing new album of Thelonious Monk compositions and a full slate of recording projects in the works, expect to be seeing his name above the title a lot more frequently. It has been more than worth the wait to hear him step back into his own shoes as an artist. MonkTime, a trio effort teaming him with guitarist Greg Skaff and drum legend Mike Clark, is the kind of recording you think Thelonious himself would have liked. DSC Band, as the band is called, captures the brilliance and playful charm of Monk’s music while easing it into new territory with its spare, spatially minded arrangements. “There’s air around all three instruments,” says Dorsey, whose resonant, rounded bass tones both ground the music and lends a lovely lightness of touch. “We wanted to retain the original character of Monk’s music,” he says. “We wanted to present the music in the purest form possible without excessive embellishment to the basic melodic and harmonic framework. We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel on masterpieces. We wanted to keep the essence of the songs, that timeless commonality they have, while blending in our own spices and flavors.”