The second volume of Thelonious Monk's appearance at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival is drawn from two separate concerts on back to back days, with the pianist joined by longtime tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist John Ore and drummer Frank Dunlop…
Just after John Coltrane left him and before the arrival of Charlie Rouse, Thelonious Monk formed a quartet with Johnny Griffin, which played at the Five Spot in New York in August & July, 1958. Half of this music was issued on two original Riverside albums: “In Action” and “Misterioso”. This edition contains all known music from these famous gigs plus as a bonus, a rare sextet selection by Monk including Griffin, Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams.
On paper it seems as if such titanic and distinctive musical personalities as Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane might not mix very well, but this stellar set, recorded live at Carnegie Hall in 1957, plays almost like a blissful extended duet between the two (with support from a sensitive yet hard-swinging bassist and drummer). The opener, "Monk's Mood," for example, features the composer/pianist's typically brilliant, idiosyncratic playing, while Coltrane floats over the top in the most lyrical of modes. Monk, in particular, is a master of tension-and-release tunefulness, creating rhythmic and harmonic intricacies that seem to spur Coltrane's saxophone exploration to new heights.
Concord Music Group releases three new titles in its Original Jazz Classics Remasters series. Enhanced with 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, bonus tracks on each release (some previously unissued), and new liner notes to provide historical context to the originally released material, the series showcases pivotal recordings of the past several decades by artists whose influence on the jazz tradition continues to reverberate among jazz musicians and audiences well into the 21st Century.