528

Thelonious Monk: The Columbia Years (1962-1968)

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
The first thing you notice about Monk is the clipped phrases and unexpected turns in his compositions. With Charlie Rouse and above average rhythm sidemen, Thelonious Monk always turned heads. This three-disc compilation includes his familiar compositions as well as those not quite so familiar. They’re all fascinating and worthy of dedicated study.

Disc One centers on reissued studio sessions in trio and quartet format. At the piano, Monk thrills with his use of unique tone clusters and devil-may-care keyboard rants. There’s always a high level of energy, even though the tempo varies from a slow and deliberate “Pannonica” to a jumpin’ and jivin’ “In Walked Bud.” Jon Hendricks parades both lyrics and scat singing proudly around the classic tune.

Disc Two combines big bands in both studio and live sessions with solo piano and quartet segments in concert. Monk’s piano work stands apart as powerfully percussive and full of vigor. The take presented here of “Blue Monk” with studio big band swings with passion and heats up considerably. Soloist Rouse is in fine form. It’s a different take than that released in 1994 on the CD reissue of Monk’s Blues. From a 1967 solo piano concert performance in Puebla, Mexico, Monk performs “Don’t Blame Me” with deliberately slow and meaningful expression. “I Mean You” is from Columbia’s 1963 LP Big Band And Quartet In Concert, also released on CD in ’94 by Sony. Thad Jones, Charlie Rouse, Frankie Dunlop and Phil Woods contribute exciting solos alongside Monk’s fresh performance.

Disc Three offers live Monk performances in concert and club settings, with both small and large ensembles. At the Newport Jazz Festival with Pee Wee Russell, and at the Monterey Jazz Festival with a nonet, Monk and Rouse swing heartily. In Stockholm, Monk is with a small ensemble that includes Johnny Griffin, Phil Woods and Ray Copeland. At the It club in Los Angeles, he’s in vintage form with Rouse, Larry Gales and Ben Riley.

Columbia’s compilation runs for three and a half hours and includes no alternate takes or incomplete segments. While many of these pieces are classic Monk compositions, producer Orrin Keepnews has decided to repeat nothing and present each one at its best. This chapter in Jazz’s history is a vital one that has been preserved well for our generation and for those who are just starting out.

Track Listing: Bye-Ya; Coming on the Hudson; Rhythm-A-Ning; Think of One; Pannonica; Crepuscule With Nellie; April in Paris; Ugly Beauty; Honeysuckle Rose; In Walked Bud; Thelonious; Reflections; Blue Monk;

Personnel: Thelonious Monk- piano; Pee Wee Russell- clarinet; Steve Lacy- soprano saxophone; Phil Woods- alto saxophone, clarinet; Buddy Collette- alto saxophone, other reeds; Ernie Watts, Gene Cipriano- alto saxophone; Johnny Griffin, Tom Scott, Charlie Rouse- tenor saxophone; Jack Nimitz, Ernie Small- baritone saxophone; Gene Allen- baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Thad Jones- cornet; Nick Travis, Bobby Bryant, Conte Candoli, Freddie Hill, Melvin Moore, Ray Copeland- trumpet; Eddie Bert, Lou Blackburn, Bob Brookmeyer, Billy Byers, Mike Wimberly, Jimmy Cleveland- trombone; John Ore, Butch Warren, Steve Swallow, Larry Gales- bass; Frankie Dunlop, John Guerin, Ben Riley- drums; Howard Roberts- guitar on

| Record Label: Columbia Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


comments powered by Disqus

Shop

More Articles

Read Numbers CD/LP/Track Review Numbers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Copenhagen Live 1964 CD/LP/Track Review Copenhagen Live 1964
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 30, 2017
Read The Busker CD/LP/Track Review The Busker
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 30, 2017
Read Pathways CD/LP/Track Review Pathways
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 30, 2017
Read This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read Nigerian Spirit CD/LP/Track Review Nigerian Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau" CD/LP/Track Review Chris Thile & Brad Mehldau
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2017
Read "Rhythm and Romance" CD/LP/Track Review Rhythm and Romance
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "It's Time" CD/LP/Track Review It's Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Cada Fuego Es El Primero" CD/LP/Track Review Cada Fuego Es El Primero
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Metamorphosis" CD/LP/Track Review Metamorphosis
by James Nadal
Published: July 10, 2016
Read "Alba" CD/LP/Track Review Alba
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 7, 2016

Why wait?

Support All About Jazz and we'll deliver exclusive content, hide ads, hide slide-outs, and provide read access to our future articles.

Buy it!