334

Thelonious Monk Quintet: Monk

By

Sign in to view read count
The remastered Monk is actually two mini-sets melded into one with the first quintet consisting of the underrated trumpeter Ray Copeland, tenor saxophonist Frank Foster and bassist Curly Russell, with the legendary Art Blakey holding it all together on drums. These first four tracks (including a beautiful rendition of the Jerome Kern classic "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes") are upbeat and decidedly lighter in tone. This half ends with a masterfully syncopated solo by Blakey on the jaunty "Hackensack," named after the New Jersey town where the set was recorded in 1954.

The last three tracks were recorded a year before in New York with tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, bassist Percy Heath, French horn player Julius Watkins and drummer Willie Jones. A dramatic shift from the first set, the tone is dark, moody and methodically paced. Rollins' effortless riffs complement Monk's catchy avant-garde melodies and creative harmonization. It's interesting to compare two back-to-back takes of "Think of One." The subtle differences reveal themselves upon repeat listens. The second take has a tighter intro based heavily on the song's chord progression with a piano flourish punctuating the end phrase. In general, notes are chosen with more care, though the solos on the first version take more risks. This dichotomy sums up the two sides of Monk's playing. The first set shows a penchant for melody while the second captures an innovator mixing up the status quo in search of a new and exciting sound. Both are important to understanding his rare talent.

Track Listing: We See; Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Locomotive; Hackensack; Let's Call This; Think of One (take 2); Think of One (take one).

Personnel: Thelonious Monk: piano; Frank Foster: tenor saxophone; Ray Copeland: trumpet; Curly Russell: bass; Art Blakey: drums; Sonny Rollins: tenor saxophone; Julius Watkins: french horn; Percy Heath: bass; Willie Jones: drums.

Title: Monk | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Mata Hati" CD/LP/Track Review Mata Hati
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "The Harry Warren Song Book" CD/LP/Track Review The Harry Warren Song Book
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 31, 2017
Read "3Divas" CD/LP/Track Review 3Divas
by Jerome Wilson
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "The Things We Did Last Summer" CD/LP/Track Review The Things We Did Last Summer
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "The Dreamer Is the Dream" CD/LP/Track Review The Dreamer Is the Dream
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "BACHanalia" CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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