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Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane: At Carnegie Hall

Jim Santella By

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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; Crepuscule With Nellie; Nutty; Epistrophy; Bye-Ya; Sweet & Lovely; Blue Monk; Epistrophy (incomplete).

Personnel: Thelonious Monk: piano; John Coltrane: tenor saxophone; Ahmed Abdul-Malik: bass; Shadow Wilson: drums.

Title: At Carnegie Hall | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

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