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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1989 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Concord Records

One of Thelonious Monk's finest bands was the quartet he led in 1958 that featured tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin. Griffin sounded quite comfortable playing Monk's music and his fiery style really inspired the pianist/composer. This two-LP set has many great moments including "In Walked Bud," "Nutty," and "Let's Cool One" and makes you regret that this band did not stay together for a much longer period. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released June 26, 2006 | Concord Records

Hi-Res Booklet
1957. The two giants of jazz often meet at night on the stage of the Five Spot Café. At the start of this avalanche of New York concerts, they hit the studio, where they would record a dozen pieces for trio, quartet and septet. Incredible but true, these sessions with Art Blakey, Wilbur Ware, Coleman Hawkins, Shadow Wilson, Ray Copeland et Gigi Gryce, will be the only ones where Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane ever play together. If this double-act seems too good to be true, it's worth bearing in mind that at the time, the real star was Monk! Coltrane's name was certainly known among jazz specialists of his time, but his fame was nothing like what it would become. "Working with Monk", the saxophonist would later tell the magazine DownBeat, "brought me close to a musical architect of the highest order. I learned from him in every way.". As the name indicates, Complete 1957 Riverside Recordings is a collection of the recordings of these sessions, which were made up of themes almost all written by Monk. Initial recordings, false starts, alternative versions, studio conversation: it's all there! It's a pretty fascinating document, especially for the way that the pianist welcomes all his young colleagues into his unique musical world, so openly and so freely. © MZ/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1982 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2007 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1992 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Concord Records

After making his first recordings for Blue Note Records in 1947, Thelonious Monk moved on to the Prestige label in the early '50s before moving on again to sign with the then-new Riverside Records in 1955. Working with producer Orrin Keepnews at Riverside, Monk produced some of his finest studio sessions during the next four years, several of which are collected here in this tightly sequenced set, which features some of the best tenor sax players bop had to offer. Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane are both on the version collected here of "Epistrophy" from 1957. Coltrane also shines on two other Monk recordings from 1957, "Well You Needn't" and the starkly beautiful "Ruby, My Dear." Johnny Griffin's tenor gives "Rhythm-A-Ning" from 1958 a solid push, as does Sonny Rollins on 1956's "Pannonica." Monk's stride-run-through-a-bop-blender piano style is also featured on two solo turns, 1957's "'Round Midnight" and 1959's "Blue Monk." In all, this is a concise introduction to one of Monk's most important periods, but the bonus disc is simply a sampler for other artists in Riverside's Profiles series, which makes this package feel a little bit like an infomercial. ~ Steve Leggett
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1986 | Concord Records

Interesting dialogs between Monk and various greats among saxmen: Coltrane, Rollins, and Coleman Hawkins. ~ Ron Wynn
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Concord Records

After making his first recordings for Blue Note Records in 1947, Thelonious Monk moved on to the Prestige label in the early '50s before moving on again to sign with the then-new Riverside Records in 1955. Working with producer Orrin Keepnews at Riverside, Monk produced some of his finest studio sessions during the next four years, several of which are collected here in this tightly sequenced set, which features some of the best tenor sax players bop had to offer. Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane are both on the version collected here of "Epistrophy" from 1957. Coltrane also shines on two other Monk recordings from 1957, "Well You Needn't" and the starkly beautiful "Ruby, My Dear." Johnny Griffin's tenor gives "Rhythm-A-Ning" from 1958 a solid push, as does Sonny Rollins on 1956's "Pannonica." Monk's stride-run-through-a-bop-blender piano style is also featured on two solo turns, 1957's "'Round Midnight" and 1959's "Blue Monk." In all, this is a concise introduction to one of Monk's most important periods, but the bonus disc is simply a sampler for other artists in Riverside's Profiles series, which makes this package feel a little bit like an infomercial. ~ Steve Leggett
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2004 | Concord Records

Offering a "best-of" package from Thelonious Monk is a daunting task, even if the compiler sticks to his Riverside material between 1955 and 1960. Such a package, for instance, could only hint at the riches of an album like Brilliant Corners and Monk's Music. But why shouldn't a newcomer to the works of Monk have one great disc to draw him or her in? The Best of Thelonious Monk accomplishes just that, compiling pieces from the above mentioned albums, live tracks, and even a lovely solo version of the pianist's best-known piece, "'Round Midnight." The disc is packed -- with one exception -- with Monk's compositions, thus introducing the novice to all aspects of his work. Monk's joined by a who's who list of modern jazz greats including saxophonist John Coltrane, drummer Art Blakey, and tenor Sonny Rollins for trios, quartets, quintets, and sextets. There's a tremendous 11-minute take on "Well, You Needn't" and a nice interpretation of Duke Ellington's "Caravan." As this disc plainly shows, Monk's writing and piano style was beautifully idiosyncratic, and quite unlike anything else at the time or since. His solos on "Well, You Needn't" and "Brilliant Corners" range between mathematically precise to abstract, spinning precise patterns and then drifting freely. But while Monk's music was always difficult, he -- like Charles Mingus -- never forgot to write intriguing melodies. For those who have never experienced the brilliance of one of jazz's most distinct stylists, The Best of Thelonious Monk is a grand place to start. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.