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.
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.
In Memoriam. Orrin Keepnews, RIP. Jazz producer and record label found Orrin Keepnews died on Sunday at the age of 91. Keepnews was behind landmark recordings by jazz legends like Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Cannonball Adderley… Remastered in 24-bit from the original master tapes. Part of our Keepnews Collection, which spotlights classic albums originally produced by the legendary and arguably the most respected of all jazz producers, Orrin Keepnews.
Thelonious Monk's 1963 Newport Jazz Festival set has been released in whole or part on several different Columbia releases, but this 2002 reissue is the best version yet. One finally gets to hear nothing but Monk on this edition, with the added bonus of a previously unreleased and undocumented appearance from the 1965 festival. The earlier material, with Charlie Rouse, Butch Warren, and Frankie Dunlop, is already very familiar to serious Monk devotees, particularly the inspired addition (due to the suggestion of festival producer George Wein) of clarinetist Pee Wee Russell on two songs.
Concord Music Group will release five new titles in its Original Jazz Classics Remasters series. Enhanced by 24-bit remastering by Joe Tarantino, several bonus tracks on nearly each disc (some previously unreleased) and new liner notes providing historical context to the original material, the series celebrates the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records, the prolific New York-based label that showcased some of the most influential jazz artists and recordings of the 1950s and '60s.