Excellent Monk concert from his well-documented 1961 European Tour. The sound is very good and Monk is in very good form. The bonus tracks were recorded for TV in Bussum; April 1961. There is a low quality video copy of part of this that circulates among collectors, but it is nice to have it in a much more complete audio format as presented here. Huge thanks to the Dutch Archives for releasing this vintage Monk!
This CD combines together two unrelated solo piano sets. The nine performances by Thelonious Monk are a bit familiar since these renditions (which are highlighted by "'Round Midnight," "Well You Needn't," "We See" and "Hackensack") had been previously reissued by GNP/Crescendo and Mosaic. However the 13 selections (including three alternate takes) by Joe Turner (no relation to singer Big Joe Turner) are much rarer. Turner, a talented American stride pianist who spent most of his life living in France, had only recorded ten songs as a leader prior to this 1952 session and is in top form for such numbers as "Hallelujah," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," "Wedding Boogie" and three versions of "Tea for Two." This CD is easily recommended to jazz piano collectors who do not already have the Monk selections.
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.
As was often the case during the early days of jazz recordings, these six selections (seven, if you count the two attempts at "Think of One") were released under a myriad of names, among them We See, The Golden Monk, and simply Monk - with the assembled musicians credited as the Thelonious Monk Quintet. Monk can be heard supported by two distinct outfits during these, his respective second and third outings as a bandleader on the Prestige label. Taken chronologically, "Let's Call This" and both versions of "Think of One" were documented on November 13, 1953, with Monk (piano), Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Julius Watkins (French horn), Percy Heath (bass), and Willie Jones (drums)…
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!