419

Thelonious Monk: Live At The Five Spot: Discovery!

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Thelonious Monk: Live At The Five Spot: Discovery! This live date, recorded in the summer of `57, features pianist and composer Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane on tenor sax, Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass, and Roy Haynes on drums. Since it was captured on a portable tape recorder by Juanita (Naima) Coltrane, the total immersion of being in a live session pervades, with audience conversations and other background noises popping up at unexpected intervals. Unfortunately, the single microphone was positioned too far away from John Coltrane, so that there's an imbalance in the volume level of the artists. Other than that, the sound quality is something that you get used to, and the material is plentiful at forty-three minutes, with lengthy solos from each member of the quartet.

Both Trane and Monk stretch out on "Trinkle Tinkle" with long solo outings that reinforce their known styles. Trane was into his "sheets of sound" phase then and his muscular, confident tone supports the lengthy phrases. Monk is showing distinctive dissonances and quoting from his other tunes as he bounces and romps through a loose solo encounter. Monk starts "In Walked Bud" with the familiar melody and hands off to Trane, who takes his time to think the earlier phrases through carefully. Staying with the chord changes, Trane advances slowly at first and continues to add more and more motion to his stream of notes, causing the overall effect to become quite interesting. Almost all of Trane's work on this set is in the middle or lower register; once considered avant-garde, it's quite accessible by today's standards. "I Mean You" is the highlight of the set, over thirteen minutes long and with carefully constructed solos by each artist. During his piano solo Monk finds a few of the keyboard notes that are out of tune and returns to one of them repeatedly as if to experiment with this unusual sound. Abdul-Malik tends to take solos in stride with just the walking pattern. Haynes, on the other hand, shows excellent technique and selection of all available textures during his share of the spotlight. On "Epistrophy" part of Monk's solo turns into an abrupt fade before the quartet is heard finishing because a part of the original tape was recorded over by accident. It's sheer coincidence that "Crepuscule With Nellie" contains more audience conversation than the other numbers, because the effect of this graceful ballad, with people noticeably enjoying each other's company, fulfills the title's meaning of a twilight dinner date for this proud composer and his lovely wife.


Title: Live At The Five Spot: Discovery! | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Tilt" CD/LP/Track Review Tilt
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Allied Forces" CD/LP/Track Review Allied Forces
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Transient" CD/LP/Track Review Transient
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Cross-Platform Interchange" CD/LP/Track Review Cross-Platform Interchange
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 4, 2017
Read "OWT" CD/LP/Track Review OWT
by John Sharpe
Published: September 18, 2016
Read "Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Sant'Anna Arresi, 2004
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 7, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.