Currently viewing the tag: "Thelonious Monk"

GeniusOfModernMusicVol1Cover

There really isn’t too much that I can add to the two descriptions below on each of both volumes. Here we have two albums that are a piece of music history, “Genius of Modern Music Vol. 1 was recorded as early as 1947 and “Genius of Modern Music Vol. 2” was recorded in 1952. There are many songs in these albums that were not released in any other Monk album, why you ask, great question! Every true Jazz fan and/or Jazz Aficionado should have these two Monk classics in their library, enjoy!

About the album Vol. 1:

The innovations of pianist/composer Thelonious Monk are often lumped together with those of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, as if his work was some kind of aesthetic footnote to their bebop revolution. In fact, this great composer established a parallel stream of modern jazz that is a universe unto itself. The music on these first Blue Note sessions is so brimming with joy and cosmic architecture, it’s difficult to believe people once viewed Thelonious Sphere Monk’s work as hopelesssly oblique. Born in Rocky Mount, NC on October 10, 1917, Monk was brought up in the San Juan Hill section of Manhattan. He began playing piano at eleven, and soon went on the road with a touring revivalist. Some writers have speculated that his acerbic voicings and angular melodic lines were influenced in part by traditional blues and church music (not to mention the rickety old upright pianos he encountered along the way). However, by the time his work was first documented with electric guitarist Charlie Christian, Monk was clearly emerging from the stride tradition of pianists such as James P. Johnson. By the time tenor saxophone patriarch Coleman Hawkins……Learn More

GeniusOfModernMusicVol2Cover

About Vol. 2:

The music of pianist/composer Thelonious Monk has always inspired profound devotion amongst the hippest fans and musicians. Swing ear stars such as Coleman Hawkins and Cootie Williams were among his earliest and most vocal admirers, while Monk’s influence on Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane (among others) was profound. As a result, his remarkable body of written work and recordings form an aesthetic cornerstone of modern jazz. And yet, because of the challenging nature of his music, his fabled personal eccentricities, and some trumped-up criminal charges which cost him his cabaret card (essentially denying him the opportunity to perform in any New York City establishment serving liquor, between 1951 and ’57), recognition and success were a long time coming for this American original. The works contained on GENIUS OF MODERN MUSIC, VOL. 2 are some of the most remarkable performances and compositions in the history of American music, featuring some of Monk’s greatest collaborations. With its bluesy outline, classic rhythmic breaks and superb melodic contours, “Straight No Chaser” has been a jazz standard since Monk first introduced it with this recording. Art Blakey’s animated 12-bar intro sets a perfect tempo with an implied triplet feeling, as Monk’s solo proceeds directly from Al McKibbon’s sturdy two-beat pulse and the drummer’s polyrhythmic proddings. Monk’s laid-back groove belies the fierce tension his rhythmic gamesmanship, percussive dissonances, pregnant pauses, horn-like phrases and bluesy bent tones impart. All Monk tunes are full of teasing interactive themes and startling structural contrasts. As an accompanist, Monk doesn’t simply feed vibraphone soloist Milt Jackson chordal backgrounds on the jagged “Criss Cross”–he enunciates a secondary theme of orchestral gravity. And few musicians are willing or able to take on the daunting melodic and rhythmic challenges……Learn More

5ByMonkBy5Cover

Here’s an album that is not spoken about enough and could be considered as one of Monk’s finest. The title of this 1959 album, “5 by Monk by 5” is a very cool shortcut for Five Songs Composed By Monk and Played by a Quintet. Thad Jones (on Cornet) made this album stand alone from the others. The addition of a song that is rarely played on any medium, “Jackie-ing,” helps separate the album further, enjoy!!

About the album:

This is a Hybrid Super Audio CD playable on Super Audio CD players and regular CD players. The title of this 1959 album nicely mirrors some of what makes Thelonious Monk so magical. He took common, simple elements and made them resonate with his personality. (Note: the original five pieces have been expanded to seven with the inclusion of two alternate takes.) Monk brought Thad Jones on board for an extra harmonic line in the compositions, as well as his spirited soloing. “Jackie-ing,” named for his niece, opens the album like a national anthem being paraded through some country where we all ought to be living at least some of the time. And then 55 minutes later it all wraps up with “Ask Me Now”–surely one of the most beautiful pieces in jazz or any idiom. Recorded at Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York on….Read More

MonkStraightNoChaserCover

As mentioned below in the description, this album was in 1967 but on Vinyl only. This 1996 version of the “Straight No Chaser” has restored several songs to their original length and added THREE bonus songs never released before (“This Is My Story, This Is My Song” is better known by the title “Blessed Assurance.” It is a classic album release that will become very rare as time goes by because of its originality. All the Jazz Con Class Radio listeners and readers here should purchase this album, it is very unique and could be his best, believe it or not.

About the album:

This CD reissue of one of Thelonious Monk’s most accessible (and commercially successful) albums differs greatly from the 1967 LP. Besides previously unavailable takes of Duke Ellington’s “I Didn’t Know About You,” Monk’s own “Green Chimneys” and the rare and exquisite piano solo “This Is My Story, This Is My Song,” the CD includes previously unheard takes of three of the album’s original six tracks. The time differences in these versions are substantial: the title track is lengthened by nearly a minute, the classic “We See” by 2:47 and “Japanese Folk Song (Kojo No Tsuki)” by a whopping 5:41. (For purists, Columbia reissued the original album on vinyl in 1998.) As always, the more Monk the better, but the added material is particularly welcome in this case……Read More

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