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The all purpose Thelonious Monk thread...

Discussion in 'music' started by rough edges, May 7, 2019.

  1. rough edges

    rough edges pfm Member

    I was listening to "5 by Monk by 5" last night, and it dawned on me that Monk was both drawing from the past with Thad Jones' cornet, and looking to the future with Charlie Rouse's sax. A pivotal album in some ways, it was Monk's last effort for Riverside; both the end and beginning of an era. This album swings as hard as any jazz recording I know of.
    Monk gave so much to Jazz. His style is one of, if not the most recognizable, in the genre. He composed many great tunes, and he invited many great horn players into his circle, influencing everyone he worked with in the process. John Coltrane said he learned more about music during his year and a bit with Monk, than at any other time in his life. That's quite a statement.
    Are there any other big Monk fans out there? What are your favourite recordings? Do you have a Monk "jones" like I do? Do I need help?

  2. kjb

    kjb pfm Member

    Love Monk. I got into him via his work record with Coltrane and both love Monk and others playing Monk Tunes. The Monk / Train Carnegie concert is a favourite alongside the other classics. My most played recordings are probably Brilliant Corners The Complete Live at the It Club and the CBS Complete Solo recordings. I do need to get amore of the Riverside stuff at some point. Ive never found a decently priced complete set - a complete non digitally sourced Riverside box on vinyl would be difficult to resist. Most of my Monk is on CD - he's a bit under represented in the vinyl collection bu comparison with others.

    In terms of other people playing Monk: EST's take is a long term favourite and the Alexander Von Schlippenbach recording of all of Monk's tunes ( and I was surprised how few there were) is ace.

  3. Swamp Thing

    Swamp Thing Kill all leave supporters

    The wonderful sparseness. It sometimes sounds like he is playing only every third or fifth chord from those that he could play. The genius being which ones to pick. TM Trio (Prestige), Carnegie with Coltrane, IT Club and this...

    IMG 0350

    ..get the most play. And Thelonious gets on the wall too, with Miles and Coltrane.

  4. starbuck

    starbuck pfm Member

    Have you heard the fairly recent set, 'Monk's Dream', by Frank Kimbrough's quartet? Not cheap at nearly £60 for six CDs but really good.
  5. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Golly, do I ever have a lot of soul!

    I love the big band recordings - the Town Hall concert and particularly the Big Band and Quartet concert recorded at the Lincoln Center (silly new Amazon price here and sensible used price here). The Lincoln Center recording is unbelievably good considering it is 55 years old. It also appears on this collection which is probably a good buy if you are starting from scratch, as it also contains the It Club and Jazz Workshop recordings (which are excellent) plus live concerts from Tokyo and Newport (which I don’t know.)
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    Woodface likes this.
  6. herb

    herb music live

    Visuals are vital with Monk?
    eastone likes this.
  7. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    Monk fan here, big time. I’m always hearing new things in his music, re harmony, rhythm, timing. His music/playing is truly three dimensional, palpable, architectural - I feel I could live in it. Brilliant Corners is one of my favourites. I have two framed Monk LPs in the music room, the Reid Miles/Hannan/Warhol collaborations on Presteigne. I don’t care for other musicians playing his music, it always sounds ironed out or rectified, apart perhaps from Steve Lacy who spent a lifetime studying and learning from Monk.
    eastone and MarkW like this.
  8. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    I love Monk, just a complete one off. He wrote most of his key tracks early, I believe there is a two CD set of 'Genius Of Modern Music' which is barely a tenner; this has most of his classics in a very sparse setting. I have a lot of his albums on vinyl, 'Monks Music', 'Mysterioso' are great. He really swings, I have heard a couple of interviews with him & he sounds just like you expect him to. Just a wonderful talent, a true genius & I don't use that term lightly. He is part of the firmament (Armstrong, Ellington, Parker, Davies, Coltrane) .
  9. ciderglider

    ciderglider pfm Member

    I love "Monk's Music" on Riverside, but would also recommend his final sessions recorded in London, which are on Black Lion. They have a world weary feel to them.
  10. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Such a fascinating character
  11. rough edges

    rough edges pfm Member

    Here's the documentary film "Straight No Chaser"...

    I think it's one of the best films about any jazzman ever made.
    eastone and jackbarron like this.
  12. kjb

    kjb pfm Member

    Have you heard this? the complete Monk played on solo guitar.


    I think it's only been available as a download but there's a cd release later this month. I've not yet bought it but have listened in quite a few times. I find it fascinating - one of those times where transposing the music to a different instrument allows something quite different to emerge from the music itself. I find something that sounds oddly spontaneous rather than studied and also rather beautiful in it.

    eastone likes this.
  13. droodzilla

    droodzilla pfm Member

    Thanks for reminding me about this Kevin; I'd seen it before but I don't do downloads. I'll definitely be buying the 6 CD set.
  14. jackbarron

    jackbarron Chelsea, London

    I've got some Thelonius Monk, from Brilliant Corners through the albums with John Coltrane to Underground and a box set or two. His music is instantly recognizable when he plays. So was his visual look and the way he 'danced' during solos by other musicians.

    The Straight No Chaser doc is great to watch, insightful and moving. It is sad that he had an unspecified mental illnesss, for which he was given antipsychotics and lithium.

    There is a jaw-dropping fact about him on Wiki: "Monk is the second-most-recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than a thousand pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70."

    Woodface likes this.
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I love Monk, truly amazing stuff. My only criticism is he arrived perfectly formed and didn’t seem to develop the way say Miles, Coltrane etc did, his later work largely being unchanged but better recorded versions of the early stuff. I’d have loved to hear what he’d have done had he gone say ‘free’ like Coltrane or moved into electric funk/fusion like Miles.
  16. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    It took a while for the rest of the world to catch up so you cannot blame him for milking it. I think his mental health issues kicked in quite early which probably effected his ability to compose new work later in his career.
    jackbarron likes this.
  17. rough edges

    rough edges pfm Member

    Miles Davis and John Coltrane certainly did evolve throughout their careers. They often composed in a modal structure which allowed them certain liberties. It's this freedom that led them to experiment, and eventually evolve their styles. They also felt that they needed to evolve, in order to continue to satisfy themselves musically. Not a bad thing.

    Monk was more inclined to the Bebop tradition. He had his own, very different vision from the start, and continued with his music as he saw fit. He felt satisfied with the way he communicated his evolving musical thoughts, without feeling the need to evolve his style in order to express himself.

    People only do something when they feel a need...
  18. twotone

    twotone pfm Member

    I love Monk, especially the tune from Super Mario or the other children's game from the nineties.

    I bought this from Cookie on here.

  19. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Golly, do I ever have a lot of soul!

    twotone likes this.
  20. rough edges

    rough edges pfm Member

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