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Jazz - Released June 16, 2017 | Sam Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - Jazzwise Five-star review
Filmmaker Roger Vadim had the right idea when he chose Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers to perform the soundtrack to his modern film adaptation of Liaisons dangereuses by Laclos, and the score from Thelonious Monk is just as impressive. Not for its originality, as it is essentially based on revisitings of the pianist's own themes. Superbly exhumed by the Sam Records label (Hi-Res 24-Bit sound and wonderful digital booklet), this groundbreaking New York session of 27 July 1959 brought together around the pianist the saxophonists Charlie Rouse and Barney Wilen, the double-bass player Sam Jones and drummer Art Taylor. A pretty magical session in which a fully-relaxed Monk gives free rein to his two tenor players in particular. A real hidden treasure that ought to be discovered at once. © MD/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1987 | Riverside

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Le top 6 JAZZ NEWS - The Qobuz Standard
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Jazz - Released September 29, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
Thelonious Monk was 34 years old when he crossed the Atlantic for the first time. In that year of 1954, the American pianist, already considered a great trend-setter, was the guest of the Jazz Festival that takes place at the Salle Pleyel where he performed with drummer Jean-Louis Viale and bass player Jean-Marie Ingrand. This album released in 2017, Monk’s centennial year, offers the recording of five titles from this performance, but its true value lies elsewhere: Thelonious Monk solo on piano, that producer André Francis was wise enough to record. Even wiser since the musician had never been recorded solo before. And it’s like fireworks! Listening to such music blending chaos and passion, humor and intelligence is like watching a tightrope walker on the edge but of course never falling. And let’s not forget the genius of the compositions! All of Monk's art is already there, in this Parisian walk of 1954 that still sounds as modern as it did many decades ago… © MZ/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released September 23, 2002 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released April 6, 1998 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For
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Jazz - Released September 23, 2002 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
The Thelonious Monk Quartet of 1964 (comprised of the pianist-composer, tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist Larry Gales, and drummer Ben Riley) is well featured on this excellent set which is augmented by two "new" alternate takes ("April in Paris" and "Pannonica") plus a medley of "Just You, Just Me" and "Liza" that was out previously on a sampler. The unique Monk takes "I Love You Sweetheart of All My Dreams" as a piano solo and otherwise jams tunes with his quartet. Surprisingly only two of the songs ("Pannonica" and "Teo") are his originals, but he reinvents the obscure "Children's Song," "Just You, Just Me," and "April in Paris" so they sound like he wrote them! Easily recommended to Monk fans, this set is just further proof that he never made an unworthy recording. ~ Scott Yanow
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | Original Jazz Classics

Distinctions Le top 6 JAZZ NEWS
With the robust ambience of Fugazi Hall in San Francisco at his disposal, Thelonious Monk recorded ten unaccompanied tracks over two days to create a long-awaited sequel to his immensely endearing Thelonious Himself long-player. As had become somewhat customary for Monk, he brought with him a healthy sampling from his voluminous back catalog, cover tunes, as well as a few new compositions. What is most immediately striking about these recordings is the rich and accurate sound stage at Fugazi Hall. The overtones are rich and thoughtful in their ability to animate Monk's recreations of some of his most endearing works, such as the pair that opens this set. "Blue Monk" still retains the proud stride and walking blues heritage of previous renderings. Adding a bit of off-tempo improvisation, Monk propels and emphasizes the rhythmic swing even harder. He is obviously also enjoying what he is hearing. The audible maturity guiding Monk through the familiar, albeit offbeat, chord progressions of "Ruby, My Dear" is striking. His nimble reflexes and split-second timing render this version superior. Again, the sound of the hall offers even more to enjoy from this performance. It is unfortunate that the playful solitude of "Round Lights" was never revisited. This freeform composition is framed within a blues structure, yet reveals all of the slightly askew freedom of a Monk original. The recreation of an old 1920s hit, "There's Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie," is another of the highlights from Thelonious Alone in San Francisco that was never recorded again by Monk. The noir qualities are immeasurably enhanced by Monk's oblique phrasings as well as the eerie resonance of the Fugazi. This is an absolute must-own recording -- Monk enthusiast or not. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Jazz - Released November 25, 2013 | Blue Note (BLU)

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Thelonious Monk was having a rough time of it during the latter 1960s. Experiencing health and some economic problems, he was also in dispute with Columbia Records, whose marketing department was trying to re-create him in the image of a rock star (see the cover of Underground). On top of this, he had lost his core rhythm section, bassist Larry Gales and drummer Ben Riley. For his eighth European tour, the pianist hired young, unknown players as accompanists for himself and saxophonist Charlie Rouse: Berklee music school student Nate "Lloyd" Hygelund on bass and 17-year-old drummer Paris Wright -- son of bassist Herman Wright. This date was recorded on the last night of the tour at the 3,800 seat Salle Pleyel (the same theater in which a far lesser-known Monk, playing with a local rhythm section, had bombed badly in 1954), and was filmed for French television broadcast. The members of this band had been able to establish a rapport during their travels, including a stint at Ronnie Scott's in London as well as gigs in Berlin, Cologne, and Italy. The show finds Monk and band playing well -- even if, at times, they are just swinging through the tunes rather than embellishing them. The versions of his classic tunes -- "Ruby My Dear," "Straight, No Chaser," "Light Blue," "Epistrophy," "Crepuscule with Nelly," "Bright Mississippi" -- and others are played with a sophisticated command, if not the experimentation they once contained. Wright is a perfectly capable, hard-swinging hard bop drummer; his chops are impressive -- for his age -- if not exceptional. Hygelund is the perfect timekeeper, always physical and in the pocket, and Rouse, so familiar with his boss' music, plays it so effortlessly and perfectly that at times he seems on autopilot -- save for his angular solo on "Light Blue." Monk, despite his health problems, seems undiminished. While there is no dancing, unpredictable bashing of chords with his elbows, or other theatrics common to his earlier persona, his sense of rhythm, harmony, imagination, and swing is ample. Wright gets a lesson in how it's all done on "Nutty," when the pianist calls out Philly Joe Jones (then a resident of Paris), who, though looking haggard, adds a polyrhythmic thrust to the proceedings that emboldens and energizes Monk. Another spot where we hear the pianist stretch is in his uncharacteristically busy flourishes on "Ruby My Dear." This volume is a welcome addition to Monk's recorded catalog; it adds a fine performance to counter the then-popular critical notion that the great composer and pianist was languishing. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released December 15, 2017 | Prestige

Hi-Res Booklet
It’s surprising to hear that since the dawn of the ‘50s, Thelonious Monk already wasn’t a pianist like the others. Or even a musician like the others… With The Complete Prestige 10-Inch LP Collection, we find five 10-Inches made for the label Prestige which have been reunited, restored and remastered from original tapes by Joe Tarantino: Thelonious Monk Trio: Thelonious (1952), Thelonious Monk Quintet Blows For LP, Featuring Sonny Rollins (1953), Thelonious Monk Quintet (1954), Thelonious Monk Plays (1954) and Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk (1954). Artistically, Monk was already in his honeymoon period even though this perhaps wasn’t the most joyous time in the musician’s life. The law had confiscated his professional card, forbidding him from playing in clubs in New York. But the contract that Bob Weinstock made him sign with Prestige allowed him to shine during this time in the recording studios. So here we find a musician who’s hungrier than ever before. He’s adventurous too. Not to mention being ahead of the jazz of his time. Already, on a few recordings for Blue Note carried out between the end of the 40s and 1952, Monk went down jazz paths less trodden without ever straying off the route. Here, the whole affair is even more striking. Most of all in the pieces where he is joined by another genius, Sonny Rollins, who also devoted himself to shaking up the rules of a thriving musical genre that was at its most intense and revolutionising age. © MD/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 27, 2006 | Riverside

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. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released February 12, 2016 | Jazzland

Hi-Res Booklet
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Jazz - Released August 27, 1996 | Columbia - Legacy

Hi-Res
This is the sixth studio album cut by Thelonious Monk under the production/direction of Teo Macero for Columbia and as such should not be confused with the original motion picture soundtrack to the 1988 film of the same name. The band featured here includes: Monk (piano), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Ben Riley (drums), and Larry Gales (bass). This would be the final quartet Monk would assemble to record with in the studio. While far from being somber, this unit retained a mature flavor which would likewise place Monk's solos in a completely new context. At times, this adaptation presents itself more subtly than others. For instance, Monk's extended solo in "Locomotive" never reaches beyond itself due in part to the tempo-laden rhythm section. The contrast of styles, however, appreciates the caliber of this particular solo, including an obvious assertion by Monk which leads the band, albeit temporarily, into playing double-time. Other recommended quartet selections on this disc include a liberated version of the title track, which highlights some stellar interaction between Monk and Rouse. The same can be said for "We See," which features the hardest bop on the album. In addition to the quartet sides, Straight, No Chaser contains two unaccompanied piano solos: "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" and "This Is My Story, This Is My Song." [The original disc only included six performances, half of which were edited due to the stringent time constraints of vinyl; subsequent reissues not only restored all of the previously abridged performances, but also added a trio of sides, two of which ("I Didn't Know About You: Take 1" and "Green Chimneys") are issued here for the first time.] ~ Lindsay Planer
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Jazz - Released August 8, 2014 | BnF Collection

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Jazz - Released August 19, 2014 | Prestige

Hi-Res Booklet
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Jazz - Released August 19, 2003 | Columbia - Legacy

The mystery and haunting angular beauty of Thelonious Monk's unadorned keyboard sides are the focus of Solo Monk. As if holding the history of jazz in his hands, Monk's solo recordings and performances from every phase of his career remain pure. The components of what made Monk such an uncompromising composer, arranger, and especially bandmember are evident in every note he plays. The disc includes both Monk originals as well as several covers of pop music standards. A majority of these sides were cut during a West Coast swing in late October and early November 1964. This highly productive jaunt would likewise yield two live releases: Live at the It Club and Live at the Jazz Workshop; both would feature Monk's quartet. On an emotional level, however, these sides arguably surpass many of the band recordings. "Sweet and Lovely" contains several passages that are played with the command and intensity usually demanded of a classical work. The intense yet sophisticated chord progressions that punctuate "Ruby, My Dear" transform what once were simple pop melodies into unaccompanied rhapsodies. Monk transforms the solitude of "Everything Happens to Me" into a minor bop masterpiece replete with his signature disjointed phrasings and variable pacing. Parties interested in a more complete retrospective of Thelonious Monk's '60s solo recordings should also check out Monk Alone: The Complete Columbia Solo Piano Recordings 1962-1968. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Jazz - Released April 15, 1968 | Columbia

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Blue Note Records