This is one of Thelonious Monk's most important records, even though it was his last studio session. He went out with a bang, with old friends Art Blakey and Al McKibbon on board in late 1971. (Any Monk record made after this is a concert bootleg with reluctant participation by Thelonious.)
Two CD release featuring some of the greatest Jazz figures together on one stage! This double set contains three of the nearly 50 concerts played by the so called Giants of Jazz, a true all-star group organized by Jazz producer George Wein that toured Europe in 1971 and 1972. Alongside Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, these sets feature musical contributions from Sonny Stitt, Kai Winding and Art Blakey. Disc One was recorded in Poland and Germany. Disc Two was recorded in Italy.
The recordings gathered in this package have been issued in a multitude of ways and are available in a number of configurations. The audiophile jazz label Mosaic Records issued The Complete Vogue Recordings/The Black Lion Sessions on vinyl initially, later releasing the title as a slightly expanded three-CD package. Chronologically, the earlier of the two sets consists of the Vogue recordings from June 7, 1954. The Black Lion sides are divided between a second batch of solo works as well as a trio session – featuring Al McKibbon (bass) and Art Blakey (drums) – both of which were cut on November 11, 1971.
As any Monk aficionado knows, his solo piano performances were wonderful, idiosyncratic, living works of art that often wound up in completely different territory from where they began. Sometimes the results would be a little shakey; often they would be inspiring. Regardless, these solo performances were adventures, and that quality makes the double disc Monk Alone: The Complete Columbia Solo Studio Recordings, 1962-1968 irresistable.