Recorded in 1963 at the Phase Two Coffee House in New York City, this outing refers to the concept of “schooling oneself,” originating from soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy’s previous stints with Thelonious Monk. Lacy and trombonist Roswell Rudd performed the music of Monk as a unit for approximately four years; they coalesce here with the notable rhythm section of bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Dennis Charles. And while this is sort of a rough-cut recording, re- processed by a crack engineering team, the music speaks loud and clear. Grimes steps aside for the opener “Bye-Ya” – where Charles implements a cunning Latin groove to complement Lacy and Rudd’s rather straightforward reading of this Monk original. Nonetheless, many of these interpretations of Monk compositions are built upon lightly swinging grooves, topped off by the soloists’ upbeat call and response mechanisms. Grimes provides some interesting contrapuntal maneuvers on the quartet’s gritty rendition of “Monk’s Mood.” Otherwise, this solid effort withstands the test of time in a rather unassuming but altogether sprightly manner.
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