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Brilliant Corners

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Product details

  • Audio CD (17 May 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Original Jazz Classics
  • ASIN: B000023Y70
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 236,859 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Brilliant Corners - Clark Terry
2. Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are
3. Pannonica
4. I Surrender, Dear
5. Bemsha Swing

Product Description

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.


Few composers or improvisers can match the originality of pianist Thelonious Monk. Quirky yet rigorously logical, Monk's playful but always purposeful choice of skewed melodies and interrupted rhythm patterns gave the bebop movement, and jazz in total, a new sound that was totally modern. Although he created a surprisingly limited body of compositions, his impact on the vocabulary and canon of jazz is second to none, including such prolific giants as Duke Ellington. Brilliant Corners is a triumph of both performance and conception: the two small-group sessions, anchored by Monk, drummer Max Roach, and the bass work of either Oscar Pettiford or Paul Chambers, feature superb front-line performances by saxophonists Sonny Rollins and the tragically under-recorded Ernie Henry, as well as trumpeter Clark Terry. The title track, which centres the collection, is one of Monk's most unconventional pieces, skirting whole-tone, chromatic and Lydian scales; a version of "Pannonica" finds Monk doubling on celeste, while the band stretches out on "Bemsha Swing" and the blues "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are". --Fred Goodman

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Jun 2001
Format: Audio CD
Brilliant Corners is remarkable for bringing together musicians who had established themselves as major jazzmen in their own right and yet gave everything on this date to make an album that from the outset would reflect Monk's peculiar musical world. Perhaps it is Monk's most enduring masterpiece.
The title piece is one of the single major works in the jazz canon. It proved so difficult to play that 25 separate cuts had to be spliced together to produce the final piece. Sonny Rollins was the tenor saxophonist on the date and leading guest musician. As a teenager, Rollins had rehearsed alongside Monk. His contribution to "Brilliant Corners" was devastating: he acquired a feel for the unusual structure of the piece -abrupt changes of tempo, bombast followed by bathos, sudden diabolical runs, jumps into double time- and became Monk's voice through a horn, while retaining the unmistakeable Rollins attack. And all this drama was held together by the polyrhythmic adaptability of Max Roach, who had played so magnificently with Rollins a few months earlier on Saxophone Colossus.
The rest of the album contains the eccentric blues "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are" (which appears on numerous early 1960s discs, including Monk's Dream, Columbia, 1962), the first recording of "Pannonica", written for the wealthy jazz-lover Pannonica "Nica" de Koenigswarter, in whose New York apartment Charlie Parker had died the year before, "Bemsha Swing", first recorded by Monk in 1952 and on this occasion featuring Duke Ellington's chief trumpeter Clark Terry, and a solo reading of "I Surrender, Dear". This is an essential modern jazz album.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Aidan Stevens on 28 Sep 2009
Format: Audio CD
I must admit that before purchasing this album, I'd never heard much of Thelonius Monk's music, although I was vaguely aware that jazz musicians did revere him. Credited with a key role in the invention of bebop, this record sees him back at his best following a period in the doldrums.

Monk's group for this disc contained Sonny Rollins (a name with which I was much more familiar), but personnel changes were prevalent throughout the record, mainly because of the near impossibility of the title track. Jarring notes and tempo changes hit at what follows over the rest of the record, although the simplicity of piano only "I surrender dear," the only non-original on the record, suggests that Monk had a wonderful grasp and feel for many types of music. It proves that he was not a slave to the dizzying harmonics of bebop.

Not always an easy listen, but for anyone serious about jazz it is an essential recording. The extra track is an aborted attempt at "Pannonica" containg only the first chorus. The mastering throughout is excellent.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bob Murray on 19 Dec 2011
Format: Audio CD
Monk made a succession of albums for Riverside from 1955 to the beginning of the sixties and they are what established his reputation as one of the great figures of modern jazz. He had been around for years, but had always been regarded as an oddball, playing enormously difficult and usually unattractive music. When he signed for Riverside, Orrin Keepnews, the A'n R man for the label, set about organizing a number of dates featuring Monk in varied company. Almost all were successful, and Keepnews had triumphed in the almost impossible task of showcasing Monk in varied settings without ever compromising his integrity. The records form the pinnacle of the musical career of one of the jazz greats.
This is one of the best of them. Monk is accompanied by Ernie Henry on alto (replaced on 'Bemsha Swing' by Clark Terry), Sonny Rollins on tenor. Oscar Pettiford on bass and Max Roach on drums. All play well. Henry was a little known musician who had recorded with Dizzy Gillespie in 1948 and then disappeared from view until 1956 when he recorded a few times and then disappeared again. Had circumstances been different he could have been one of the greats. Here he solos in an angular, hard blown style that fits perfectly with Monk. Rollins had a slightly difficult relationship with Monk, at least in musical terms, often soloing in a fairly subdued manner, at other times battling with Monk for dominance. Here he plays at his best with Monk, forceful, inventive, and not allowing himself to be dominated. Pettiford plays superbly, precise and swinging throughout. Max Roach, not my favourite drummer plays well, never quiet but never taking the music over as he could tend to do. He solos on most tracks, but never at undue length.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mike Powell on 19 April 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is a very mysterious CD. Thelonious Monk is a revered jazz musician and composer, he is an influence of gigantic proportions, The Rough Guide to Jazz recommends this album but for all that, somehow, I cannot bring myself to like it. Perhaps it is too intellectual for me, I like my music to swing and this does not and yet most of the personnel can and do swing on other recordings.
The strangest thing of all is I have to keep listening to it and perhaps in an odd way I am coming to appreciate it. Is it possible to appreciate music without enjoying it? Could it be that appreciation, understanding and enjoyment follow one another? I hope so because these are top jazz musicians playing music I don't really understand but I feel in re-listening my time will be well spent and rewarded; for that reason alone this CD deserves its place in my collection.
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