Orrin’s commentary (from his new liner notes): “I began constructing the 1960 definitive presentation of [Wes] Montgomery by recognizing the need to keep things as clear-cut and uncomplicated as possible. There were at least three unique aspects to his performing style: he played with his thumb, never using a pick… and his solos almost invariably included two elements routinely referred to as ‘impossible’—his use of octaves and of pianistic block chords. Self-taught (his first ‘lesson’ had involved heavy listening to Charlie Christian records) and never able to read music notation of any kind, he somehow possessed an unfailing command of the blues and of ballad tempo and was an impressive composer.”
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.
Orrin's commentary (from his original liner notes): "There are two very good reasons why this album, which at this writing is just a couple of years short of being a half-century old, remains one of my warmest recording memories. Undoubtedly the more important reason is that this really represents the coming of age of Nat Adderley, a man I will always consider among the most adventurous and intelligent players and leaders I have ever worked with. But to step back and evaluate this album in a very personal way, it is half of what must be one of the most complicated and most rewarding weeks of recording activity I have ever experienced."
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.
In Memoriam. RIP Mr. Terry. Yesterday, trumpet and flugelhorn player Clark Terry passed away at the age of 94. 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.
Ernie Henry was one of Riverside's earliest "discoveries." He recorded for the label, as a leader and as a sideman with Thelonious Monk and Kenny Dorham, for little more than a year before his sudden death at the end of 1957. The brilliant and unrealized promise of the young alto saxophonist, which was just beginning to be recognized (he was with Dizzy Gillespie's big band when he died), was dramatically exhibited on this final collection, one side of which is from an unfinished album featuring good friends and colleagues like Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones.