Thelonious Monk, in full Thelonious Sphere Monk (born Oct. 10, 1917, Rocky Mount, N.C., U.S. - died Feb. 17, 1982, Englewood, N.J.) American pianist and composer who was among the first creators of modern jazz. As the pianist in the band at Minton’s Playhouse, a nightclub in New York City, in the early 1940s, Monk had great influence on the other musicians who later developed the bebop movement. For much of his career, Monk performed and recorded with small groups. His playing was percussive and sparse, often being described as “angular,” and he used complex and dissonant harmonies and unusual intervals. A collection of some of the most remarkable recordings which laid the foundation of modern jazz and unfluenced generations of other musicians. The vast majority of these recordings became popular standards.
For Monk fans, these Mo-Fis are must-haves. Wow! After releasing so many mediocre rock albums, Mobile Fidelity came through with not one but TWO shiny gold CDs by the enigmatic, lovable Thelonious Monk (accompanied in these live recordings by Charlie Rouse on sax, John Ore on bass, and Frank Dunlop on drums)….
Two years after the death of pianist-composer Thelonious Monk, this very unusual and quite memorable double-LP tribute was put together. Producer Hal Willner's most successful project, the 23 interpretations of Monk originals all feature a different group of all-star players and stretch beyond jazz. Some of the performances are fairly straightforward while others are quite eccentric; certainly the crazy duet on "Four in One" by altoist Gary Windo and Todd Rundgren (on synthesizers and drum machines) and the version of "Shuffle Boil" featuring John Zorn on game calls (imitating the sound of ducks) are quite unique. There are many colorful moments throughout the project and the roster of musicians is remarkable: Bobby McFerrin with Bob Dorough, Peter Frampton, Joe Jackson, Steve Lacy, Dr. John, Gil Evans, Randy Weston, Roswell Rudd, Eugene Chadbourne and Shockabilly, the Fowler Brothers, NRBQ, Steve Khan, Carla Bley, Barry Harris, Was (Not Was) and many others. There is not a slow moment or uninteresting selection on this highly recommended set.
An extension of the popular Original Jazz Classics series (est. 1982), the new OJC Remasters releases reveal the sonic benefits of 24-bit remastering-a technology that didn't exist when these titles were originally issued on compact disc. The addition of newly-written liner notes further enhances the illuminating quality of the OJC Remasters reissues. "Each of the recordings in this series is an all-time jazz classic," says Nick Phillips, Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R at Concord Music Group and producer of the series.
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…
Remastered in 24-bit from the original master tapes. Part of our Keepnews Collection, which spotlights classic albums originally produced by the legendary Orrin Keepnews. For Monk’s debut Riverside date, Keepnews decided to ease the pianist into what turned out to be his lengthy association with the label by asking him to momentarily set aside his own compositions and instead play Duke Ellington tunes. He did so in the company of the esteemed rhythm section of bassist Oscar Pettiford and drummer Kenny Clarke. With his distinctively angular style, Monk nails Ellington’s best-known tunes such as “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Mood Indigo” and “Caravan.”
Thelonious Monk, in addition to all his other notable qualities, was actually one of Riverside's most valuable talent scouts, recommending such mainstays as Johnny Griffin and Wilbur Ware, and introducing the label to Sonny Rollins and Clark Terry. The astoundingly adept trumpeter was always greatly appreciated by Thelonious, who quickly accepted the invitation to accompany Terry on this occasion. It was an album full of firsts and rarities: Monk's only Riverside appearance as a sideman; the first of Terry's many recordings on flugelhorn; the first of a great many Riverside dates for the great bassist Sam Jones; and the only occasion on which Monk and drummer Philly Joe Jones recorded together.
Orrin Keepnews' commentary (from his new liner notes): "This, you might say, is an album of undiluted Monk. Like most generalizations, that wouldbe putting things a bit too simply, but the core of truth is there. For, with the deliberate exceptionof the final selection, this is literally Thelonious Himself—Monk, alone in the recording studio, offering highly personal versions of some standards and some of his own tunes.