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Jazz - Released October 30, 2015 | Columbia - Legacy


Jazz - Released November 30, 2010 | Classic Music International


Jazz - Released September 14, 2004 | Columbia - Legacy


Jazz - Released May 15, 2014 | Birdland

How could the four-CD Complete Blue Note Recordings be distilled to two discs on Italy's Birdland label? Simple, it's not complete. For all intents and purposes, this is the 33 master takes of Monk's own sessions -- not including the sessions he did with Sonny Rollins -- and 11 alternate takes. This is a far cry from "complete." The session note credits are accurate, though the chronology is not. The liner notes -- a full page-and-a-half essay -- are laughable. The sound is adequate but far from state of the art in terms of cleaning this stuff up. The price is nice and some civilians may choose it as a way of having these sides, but serious Monk fans should avoid it. ~ Thom Jurek

Jazz - Released January 1, 2003 | Documents


Jazz - Released April 15, 2011 | Fremeaux Heritage


Jazz - Released April 6, 1998 | Columbia - Legacy

Distinctions Stereophile: Record To Die For

Jazz - Released April 1, 1964 | Legacy - Columbia

This is one of pianist-composer Thelonious Monk's greatest recordings and represents a high point in his career. Performing at Philharmonic Hall in New York, Monk is heard taking an unaccompanied solo on "Darkness on the Delta" and jamming with his quartet (which had Charlie Rouse on tenor, bassist Butch Warren, and drummer Frank Dunlop) on fine versions of "Played Twice" and a previously unreleased rendition of "Misterioso." However, this two-CD set has its most memorable moments during the six full-length performances by a ten-piece group. Monk's quartet was joined by cornetist Thad Jones, trumpeter Nick Travis, Steve Lacy on soprano, altoist Phil Woods, baritonist Gene Allen, and trombonist Eddie Bert. Jones and Woods have plenty of solos and, although Lacy surprisingly does not have any individual spots, his soprano is a major part of some of the ensembles. Most remarkable is "Four in One," which after one of Monk's happiest (and very rhythmic) solos features the orchestra playing a Hal Overton transcription of a complex and rather exuberant Monk solo taken from his original record. This two-CD set is a gem and can be considered essential for all jazz collections. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released July 10, 2001 | Columbia - Legacy


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

Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Universal Music Group International

The Very Best of Jazz series on Concord/Universal is for all practical purposes, a new budget set of compilations that looks over a particular artist's tenure at either Prestige, Riverside, Fantasy, or one of the affiliate labels Concord acquired when it purchased Fantasy Records in the early 21st century. This double disc by Thelonious Monk serves as an excellent best-of, as well as a brilliant introduction to one of the greatest composers and stylists to emerge from the bebop generation. Collected here are 20 tracks that include some original versions of his greatest compositions: "Blue Monk," "Bemsha Swing," "'Round Midnight," and many others, as well as stellar readings of standards such as "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "April in Paris," and Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good." This set even includes a couple of original and alternate takes for "Straight No Chaser" and "Monk's Mood." ~ Thom Jurek

Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | Riverside

The Definitive Thelonious Monk on Prestige and Riverside contains previously released tracks taken from the pianist's and composer's stint with the labels from 1952 to 1960. The 21 tracks, aimed at the casual listener, include the Monk penned classics " 'Round Midnight," "Straight, No Chaser," "Ruby, My Dear," "Bemsha Swing," and "Well, You Needn't." Appearing on these various dates are an extraordinary roster of musicians including Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins and Charlie Rouse. Although it's far from a perfect retrospective of his career, this set would make a fine companion to The Essential Thelonious Monk spotlighting the years 1947-1952 on Blue Note and The Essential Thelonious Monk on Columbia 1962-1968. Keep in mind that all the original albums remain in print as well. ~ Al Campbell

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

Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

The two-disc Thelonious Monk anthology, 2014's 'Round Midnight: The Complete Blue Note Singles (1947-1952)), compiles all of the influential jazz pianist’s original 78 rpm singles released on the storied Blue Note label. These are Monk's first recordings under his own name, leading a group (not his debut recordings as a sideman with Coleman Hawkins). All of these recordings were later collected on various albums including Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1., and other anthologies. Here, they are presented in chronological order and with alternate takes. Recorded in six separate sessions beginning in October of 1947 and ending in May of 1952, these sides showcase many of the songs Monk composed, and which would quickly become part of the jazz canon. Included are "Evidence," "Mysterioso," "Well, You Needn't," and others. While the focal point of these albums is Monk's innovative use of dissonance and unexpected, angular melodicism, the recordings also benefit from a veritable who's-who of modern jazz of the period. Backing Monk here, variously, are such luminaries as drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, trumpeters Kenny Dorham and Idrees Sulieman, saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Lucky Thompson, and many more. While these recordings are widely available, it's both historically enlightening and aesthetically pleasing to have them collected so thoughtfully here. ~ Matt Collar

Jazz - Released October 1, 1979 | Columbia - Legacy

Thelonious Monk fans in particular are advised to search for this valuable two-LP set for it contains a variety of unissued material from the pianist/composer's six-year period with Columbia. Monk is heard on three piano solos, with his regular working quartet, heading a trio on "Easy Street" and at his renowned Lincoln Center concert with a nonet on "Light Blue" and "Bye Ya." The music on this two-fer is at the same consistent high level as his Columbia recordings of the 1960s and contains some surprising moments. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released January 1, 1994 | Blue Note Records

This magnificent limited-edition set launched the Mosaic label in real style. Included are all of Thelonious Monk's Blue Note recordings, six sessions as a leader from 1947-52 complete with alternate takes plus two titles cut with tenor-saxophonist Sonny Rollins in 1957. Since these were Monk's first opportunities to lead his own recording dates, this set includes the original versions of such classics as "Ruby, My Dear," "Well You Needn't," "Off Minor," "In Walked Bud," "Evidence," "Criss Cross" and "Straight No Chaser" along with Monk's first chance to record "'Round Midnight" and "Epistrophy." The sidemen include such notables as trumpeters Kenny Dorham and Idrees Sulieman, drummers Art Blakey and Max Roach, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, altoist Lou Donaldson and tenor-saxophonist Lucky Thompson, but it is the unique pianist/composer who is the main star. Many of these recordings (generally the master takes) has been reissued in other forms by Blue Note. ~ Scott Yanow

Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Concord Records


Jazz - Released January 1, 1991 | Blue Note Records