Thelonious Monk's solo recordings offer fascinating insight into the compositional and improvisational talents of one of music's true oddballs, and Alone In San Francisco is widely considered to be his best in this format.
Unencumbered by bass and drums, Monk is at his most introspective, taking advantage of the liquid tempo to patiently work though a series of originals and a few pop songs from his childhood, all of which, of course, are rendered in his inimitable style. Monk's method of creation is like a sculptor working with a hammer and chisel: very methodical and precise, yet leaving a lot of dust on the floor. It's a wonder that Monk can create such beauty out of disjointed rhythms and seemingly errant notes, but there's no denying that songs like "Pannonica and "Ruby My Dear are elegant gems in their own right. There are also two new tunes, "Bluehawk and "Round Lights.
While classics like Brilliant Corners will always be the first albums that come to mind with Monk, solo recordings like Alone In San Francisco display a different side of the pianist and are worth exploring.
Blue Monk; Ruby, My Dear; Round Lights; Everything Happens To Me; You Took The Words
Right Out Of My Heart; Bluehawk; Pannonica; Remember; There