Despite various reissue formats over several decades, the seven original LPs contained in Thelonious Monk - The Riverside Tenor Sessions stood perfectly well on their own at the time of initial release and remain among the highest achievements of a truly golden age. Recorded and released between 1956 and 1961, these seven Monk combo albums were critical in Monk's emergence from a decade of ridicule and neglect to his status at the pinnacle of the jazz pantheon. In addition to some of his best recorded piano performances and more than two dozen of his profoundly personal compositions, these albums provide an overview of the era's major tenor saxophonists, with contributions by Sonny Rollins, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Johnny Griffin, Charlie Rouse and Harold Land…
Reissue. The latest remastering. Features the high-fidelity Blu-spec CD2 format. Bonus tracks. Monk was a perfectionist not always well-understood by the public or even the musicians of his day. All his other recordings involve other musicians with whom he must interact with varying results. This sometimes makes it difficult to hear Monk as himself rather than as an ensemble player. But this recording gives us a great window into Monk's musical soul unencumbered with any exogenous distractions. One gets the feeling that Monk is playing for himself with no one else in the room. Production values are nil: just Monk and a piano in a bare studio. It is a privelege to be able to eavesdrop on his private explorations of themes of, presumably, his own choosing. Having bonus tracks with 'duplicate' songs is a genuine positive; it allows you to hear Monk's differing approaches to the same material.
The studio and live recording sessions that Thelonious Monk cut during his six-year stay at the Riverside label are compiled over the 15 discs in the Complete Riverside Recordings. This middle era – between his early sides for Prestige and the final ones for Columbia – is generally considered Monk's most ingenious and creative period. The sessions are presented in chronological order, accurately charting the progression and diversions of one of the most genuinely enigmatic figures in popular music. The Complete Riverside Recordings explores Monk's genius with a certain degree of real-time analysis that simply listening to each of the individual albums from this era lacks.
A lost treasure from the legendary Thelonious Monk – a live date recorded in Paris at the end of the 60s – late in Monk's life, and every bit as wonderful as his famous 60s studio work with his quartet! Of that group, only Charlie Rouse remains on tenor sax – but Rouse is more than enough to make things great, and the interplay between his tenor and Monk's piano is completely sublime – full of angular movements, underscored with plenty of soul – and given support from Nate Hygelund on bass and either Paris Wright or Philly Joe Jones on drums. There's a rough edge to the music that's really great – that sharper, more sinister vibe that Monk could have in a live setting – and titles include "Light Blue", "Bright Mississippi", "I Mean You", "Ruby My Dear", "I Love You Sweetheart Of All My Dreams", "Crepuscule With Nellie", and "Nutty". Special package comes with a bonus DVD of the performance!