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Thelonious Monk: It's Monk's Time (2003)

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Thelonious Monk: It's Monk's Time No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The restoration campaign of the Monk catalog is as welcome as any such endeavor could be. Here is the opening of the doors to the music, the way it was and the way it transpired before it took the shape that first came out on record. Amendments have been made by restoring the edited portions, the prime factor that gives one the impetus to revisit the music. Add unreleased takes and remastered sound, and the lure is complete.

The last three tunes on this CD were not presented on the original release. "Epistrophy" is a complete version, a wonderful tune that benefits from the horn of Rouse and the ministrations of Riley. The bonus "Nice Work If You Can Get It" is a slower take and more interlocutory of the theme as Monk probes, dissects, demolishes and reconstructs. Both versions present imagery that's astounding in its conceptualization. Another solo run comes in "Memories Of You," a moment of translucent beauty where he shapes images with gentle grace even as he injects shifts in timbre and pulse. He strides on a solo spree when "Lulu's Back In Town," breaking meter to navigate his own curiosity and stamp it with his observation. Rouse swings by just over three minutes later, his tenor flushed with warmth while Riley and Warren stimulate the rhythm bed. Monk enthralls and his time continues to be ripe!

Track Listing: Lulu's Back In Town; Memories Of You; Stuffy Turkey; Brake's Sake; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Shuffle Boil; Epistropy; Nice Work If You Can Get It; Shuffle Boil.

Personnel: Thelonious Monk: piano; Charlie Rouse: tenor sax; Butch Warren: bass; Ben Riley: drums.

Record Label: Columbia Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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