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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 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, 2013 | CM BLUE NOTE (A92)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released December 15, 2017 | Prestige

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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 August 27, 1996 | Columbia - Legacy

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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 June 27, 2006 | Riverside

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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

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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

Jazz - Released January 1, 1986 | Riverside

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The studio and live recording sessions that Thelonious Monk cut during his six-year stay at the Riverside label are compiled over the 15 discs in the Complete Riverside Recordings. This middle era -- between his early sides for Prestige and the final ones for Columbia -- is generally considered Monk's most ingenious and creative period. The sessions are presented in chronological order, accurately charting the progression and diversions of one of the most genuinely enigmatic figures in popular music. The Complete Riverside Recordings explores Monk's genius with a certain degree of real-time analysis that simply listening to each of the individual albums from this era lacks. This is due in part to the 14 additional performances exclusive to this collection. However, a more satisfying level of assessing Monk's indelible marks of extemporaneous perfection can be heard within his prankster-like sense of timing or innate penchant for sophisticated arrangements. Among the sessions captured on this exhaustive set are the Duke Ellington sides and the Sonny Rollins era (which yielded the genre-defining Brilliant Corners), as well as meetings with Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, and Gerry Mulligan. Additionally, the entire Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall performance is presented just as it went down -- with solo and quartet sets intact. Accompanying the discs is a 28-page full-size (12"x12") booklet that is indispensable in dispelling myths and making sense of the convoluted and seemingly random order in which many of these recordings have been previously issued. It also contains a complete sessionography annotated by Monk's producer during this era, Orrin Keepnews. This is a convenient, albeit pricey way to obtain all of this remarkable music. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2001 | Blue Note Records

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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 August 12, 1963 | Columbia - Legacy

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Criss-Cross -- Thelonious Monk's second album for Columbia Records -- features some of the finest work that Monk ever did in the studio with his '60s trio and quartet. Whether revisiting pop standards or reinventing Monk's own classic compositions, Monk and Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), John Ore (bass), and Frankie Dunlop (drums) exchange powerful musical ideas, as well as provide potent solos throughout the disc. Fittingly, "Hackensack" -- a frenetic original composition -- opens the disc by demonstrating the bandleader's strength in a quartet environment. The solid rhythmic support of the trio unfetters Monk into unleashing endless cascades of percussive inflections and intoxicating chord progressions. The title cut also reflects the ability of the four musicians to maintain melodic intricacies that are at times so exigent it seems cruel that Monk would have expected a musician of any caliber to pull them off. "Tea for Two" showcases Monk's appreciation for the great stride or "walking" piano style of James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith. The arrangement here is lighter, and features a trio (minus Rouse) to accent rather than banter with Monk's splashes of magnificence throughout. Likewise, Monk's solo on "Don't Blame Me" is excellent. The extended runs up and down the keyboard can't help but reiterate the tremendous debt of gratitude owed to the original stride pianists of the early 20th century. The 1993 compact disc pressing of Criss-Cross sounds great and adds a version of "Pannonica" that was previously unissued at the time. Unfortunately, however, the liner notes originally used on the album jacket -- penned by "Pannonica"'s namesake, Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter -- were replaced by those of a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. This is prime Monk for any degree of listener. ~ Lindsay Planer
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Jazz - Released August 19, 2014 | Prestige

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

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Jazz - Released April 15, 1968 | Columbia

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Jazz - Released August 19, 2003 | Columbia - Legacy

Although often unrightfully maligned by self-proclaimed "purists," Thelonious Monk did some brilliant work during his early- to mid-'60s stint for Columbia Records. It's Monk's Time (1964) contains some of the best -- if not arguably the best -- studio sides that the pianist cut during his final years as a recording musician. The album's title turned out to be somewhat prophetic, as Time magazine featured Monk as the cover subject for its February 28, 1964, edition. Interestingly, he was to have been profiled by the periodical the previous November; however, the assassination of then-President John F. Kennedy took obvious precedence. It had been almost a full year since his previous studio release, Criss-Cross (1963), and there had been a significant alteration in the rhythm section, which now incorporated the respective talents of both Butch Warren (bass) and Ben Riley (drums) as well as longtime cohort Charlie Rouse (tenor sax). From four sessions in early 1964, It's Monk's Time gathers four quartet and two solo sides, presenting the pinnacle of what these musicians offered stylistically as well as from the standpoint of presentation. There is sense of mischievous playfulness in Monk's nimble keyboard work, especially notable on the beautifully off-kilter unaccompanied opening to "Lulu's Back in Town," and the same practically impish quality also drives the solo performance on "Nice Work if You Can Get It." Both pop standards are prime examples of the bop pioneer's inimitable approach to arranging, and also provide an uncanny insight to his influences. Immediately evident are the styles of stride legends from the well-known Willie "The Lion" Smith and James P. Johnson to the slightly more obscure and decidedly frenetic playing of Cliff Jackson, as well as the ragtime approach of Walter L. Rose. The results are bound together in Monk's arithmetically advanced delivery and harmonic composition. The combo -- especially Rouse -- effectively supports and punctuates the tricky timing of "Stuffy Turkey" and the more aggressive bop of "Brake's Sake." The latter title also unleashes some tasty interaction between Monk and Rouse, sonically exemplifying their practically single-minded synergy. The concluding cut, "Shuffle Boil," is one of the lost gems of the artist's later work. It sports an effortless swing over a sophisticated and challenging melodic structure. Bassist Warren steps up to the plate, providing a supple and pulsating bed for both Monk and Rouse as they trade solos. [In 2003, Legacy issued an expanded edition of It's Monk's Time with a trio of bonus tracks, two of which were previously unavailable.] ~ Lindsay Planer
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Jazz - Released January 1, 2006 | Concord Records