VOICES Notes and news on Jazz releases
08 SEP 10 CHRIS SLAWECKI
The Definitive Thelonious Monk On Prestige & Riverside provides a thorough, comprehensive introduction to Monk's unique compositional, pianistic, and improvisational talents. It transcends different times, ensembles and locations, in studio and in concert, stretching from Monk's first Prestige sessions in 1952 New York to solo and group dates recorded in San Francisco for Riverside in the early-1960s.
These selections nearly create the vision of The Definitive Monk play. Act one: Monk worrying over his unique creations alone or with a few believers, inscrutable and unheralded, in shadowed black and white; Act two: Surrounded by acolytes singing his songs, Monk awash and flooded in the glorious multicolor of artistic vindication.
Trio restorations of "Tea for Two" and Duke Ellington's "Caravan" demonstrate Monk's funky facility with pop and jazz standards, with his rocking run through "Blue Monk" also hot in this three-piece setup. Monk masters melancholy with solo ruminations through his timelessly blue ballads "'Round Midnight" and "Ruby, My Dear." "Bemsha Swing," "Brilliant Corners," and "Well, You Needn't" set the bar for star turns by Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and plenty more Modern Jazz Giants (Prestige, '55).
Dig into the source material after you've surveyed this survey, most of which remains available in Concord's catalog. On Prestige: The Thelonious Monk Trio, part of the RVG Remaster Series; on Riverside: Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington and Brilliant Corners, both part of the Keepnews Collection, along with Monk's Music.
Thelonious Monk, from The Definitive ...
Thelonious Monk, from Brilliant Corners ...
in this playlist.