We need more surprises like this one. Discovered by accident during a routine transfer of tapes to digital format, the Library of Congress found a gem. Monk and Coltrane gave their November 29, 1957 Carnegie Hall audience a precious performance. The transfer to digital sound files from a 7 ½-inch tape reel has left their music remarkably fresh, presenting Monk's special quartet in true form. The quartet interprets his music appropriately, and their concert is charged with excitement from start to finish. It's a piece of history that's been rescued from long-term storage just in time. Even in a climate-controlled vault, magnetic tapes don't last forever.
Monk and Coltrane jam with excited emotions. Streams of notes pour from both instruments as the two giants of jazz turn it loose. With bass and drums providing a firm foundation for their adventures, the two artists commingle their instrumental voices with passion. It was a match made in heaven.
Naturally, both Monk and Coltrane provide numerous solo excursions. The saxophonist's muscular interpretations swing with authority as his musical partners conform cohesively. Monk, of course, twinkles the keyboard in a jaunty manner that swings memorably. It doesn't get any better than this.
Track Listing: Monk's Mood; Evidence; Crepuscle with Nellie; Nutty; Epistrophy; Bye-Ya; Sweet & Lovely; Blue Monk; Epistrophy.
Personnel: Thelonious Monk: piano; Ahmed Abdul-Malik: bass; Shadow Wilson: drums; John Coltrane: tenor saxophone.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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