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Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1

Thelonious Monk, T. S. Monk Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 12.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 + Genius of Modern Music Vol 2 + Straight, No Chaser
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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 May 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B000005HBS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 167,711 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Humph
2. Envoce (Alternate Take)
3. Envoce
4. Suburban Eyes
5. Suburban Eyes (Alternate Take)
6. Thelonious
7. Nice Work Of You Can Get It (Alternate Take)
8. Nice Work Of You Can Get It
9. Ruby My Dear (Alternate Take)
10. Ruby My Dear
11. Well You Needn't
12. Well You Needn't (Alternate Take)
13. April In Paris (Alternate Take)
14. April In Paris
15. Off minor
16. Introspection
17. In Walked Bud
18. Monk's Mood
19. Who Knows
20. 'Round Midnight
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Meredith Monk ~ Genius Of Modern Music 1

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The great Monk 6 Jun 2007
By S J Buck TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
This first volume of recordings is an essential purchase for any Jazz fan capturing Thelonious Monk in the very early days of be-bop, playing many of his most famous tunes.

Recorded in October and November 1947 in New York City, the album features the following musicians:

Thelonious Monk - Piano

Art Blakey - drums,

Gene Ramey, Bob Paige - bass

Idrees Sulieman, George Tait - Trumpet

Danny Quebec West, Sahib Shihab - Alto Sax

Baring mind the age of the recordings the sound quality is remarkably good and of course Monks distinctive compositions and playing dominate proceedings. Of the non-Monk tunes perhaps the best are his versions of Gershwins "Nice Work..." which he takes to another place entirely. Of Monks own compositions the beautiful "Ruby My Dear" and the swinging "Well You Needn't" are perhaps my favourites.

The 2nd volume is well worth getting as this also features Milt Jackson on a number tracks as well. So get both volumes and enjoy Monk!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:Audio CD
This is a welcome reissue of the excellent two volume collections 'Genius of Modern Music' released on Blue Note...Basically, jazz with avant-garde leanings- these volumes offer a great overview of the Monk. While not complete, they offer alternate takes of tracks...What can I say?- openers 'Humph' & 'Evonce' bridge the gap between Parker & Davis. 'Thelonious', 'Nice work if you can get it', 'Ruby my Dear', 'Well you Needn't', 'Round Midnight' etc all provide reasons to purchase...This album needs to be heard- the re-mastering has given a wonderful clarity...My only quibble is reference to tracks such as 'Epistrophy', 'Mysterioso' & 'I mean You' on the cover- where are these tracks?...So, along with the Second volume, I would reccomend 'Straight no Chaser' & the budget-priced 'Greatest Hits'...Great stuff!!!
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By Jazzrook TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
These three BLUE NOTE sessions recorded in New York City during 1947 were pianist Thelonious Monk's debut as leader.
Tracks 1-6 feature a sextet with Monk(piano); Idrees Sulieman(trumpet); Billy Smith(tenor sax); Danny Quebec West(alto sax); Gene Ramey(bass) & Art Blakey(drums) recorded on October 15.
Tracks 7-16 feature a trio with Monk(piano); Gene Ramey(bass) & Art Blakey(drums) recorded on October 24.
Tracks 17-21 feature a quintet with Monk(piano); Sahib Shihab(alto sax); George Taitt(trumpet); Bob Paige(bass) & Art Blakey(drums).
The 21 short tracks(around the 3-minute mark) include 10 fascinating Monk compositions and 7 alternative takes.
It's a pity that the July 2, 1948 quartet session with Milt Jackson is missing but these early Monk recordings are gems of modern jazz and esserntial for any serious collection.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars product description adrift 28 Feb 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
took 6 days to arrive, product not "used - like new" more like "used - Fair" so I think they need to look at descriptions
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Monk 8 Nov 2001
By G B - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
These 1947 recordings are among the earliest documents we have of piano genius and jazz pioneer Thelonious Sphere Monk. It's hard to believe that he was finally hailed with acclaim in 1957 for ideas he'd had 10 years earlier! When listening to these tracks, you should keep a couple of things in mind. First, recording technology wasn't too hot in 1947, and you can't expect the pristine, Rudy Van Gelder sound quality of 50s jazz. (Though compared to the 89 reissue, this Van Gelder edition sounds phenomenal.) Second, some of Monk's sidemen on this album didn't understand the new bop style very well, and were even more clueless on Monk's advanced ideas. (Even Art Blakey, one of Monk's best accompanists in the 50s, sounds a little confused here.) But these complaints aside, there's really phenomenal music here; tracks 7-16 (a trio with Blakey and bassist Gene Ramey) are especially marvelous, with classic recordings of Monk staples "Off Minor", "Ruby My Dear", "Well You Needn't" and "Introspection" as well as typically quirky takes on two standards ("April in Paris" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It"). The rest of the tracks are not quite up to the same standard due to the sidemen (Sahib Shihab provides the oddest alto saxophone sound ever on "Monk's Mood") but are still exciting. This set of 21 songs isn't quite as strong as Genius of Modern Music Volume 2, yet definitely essential for the Monk enthusiast.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ESSENTIAL 17 Sep 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
These were not the first times Thelonious was recorded but this is a perfect place to begin an appriciation him. Monk would go on to record for Prestige, Riverside (possibly his best work), and Columbia but these are his first important recordings (from '47) and this set contains many classics. There is also an equally valuable second volume (from '52) and both are included in the Blue Note box. This is, however, the best way to cheaply acquaint yourself with Monk. Some of the highlights include the beautiful "Ruby My Dear," Well, You Needn't," and Thelonious' first recording of his bop standard "'Round Midnight," the quintessential "late night" theme. Monk bypasses the usual nostalgic, melancholy interpretation of his song and reveals a more sinister, down-and-out desperation at its' core and the "late night" experience in general.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beginning. 3 Oct 2005
By Michael Stack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I think sometimes first recordings by important artists get more merit than they deserve-- it's a legend after all, this is their formative material, their early works, etc. And in some respect, there's merit to that, but when you have a pioneering artist like Thelonious Monk, you end up with a large disconnect between the other musicians and the leader. Such is the case on much of "Genius of Modern Music, Volume One". Singles recorded in three sessions during October and November of 1947, these are the first recordings by Thelonious Monk as a leader.

The first session featured Monk with a rhythm section of Gene Ramey (on bass) and Art Blakey (on drums) with three horns-- Idrees Sulieman on trumpet, Danny Quebec West on alto sax, and Billy Smith on tenor sax. Four titles were tackled, only two composed by Monk (two were by Ike Quebec, who helped get Monk signed to Blue Note). The horn players, all largely best known for this session, are fairly clueless and turn out earnest but by and large unexciting performances and force Monk into a rather standard comping role. Comparing his playing to his work behind the horn players in the third session on here, the difference is astounding. But by and large, none of these pieces save "Thelonious", go to any strides to really show Monk off as a songwriter or a musician.

The second session finds Monk in a trio setting with Ramey and Blakey. Here, the real value of these recordings begin as many of the things that make Monk what he is come forth, whether he is tackling standards ("Nice Work If You Can Get It" and "April in Paris" both get readings) or originals (such critical pieces as "Ruby My Dear" and "Well You Needn't"), the work is stunning and the performance is breathtaking.

The last session on here sits somewhere in between these two-- Monk is accompanied by trumpeter George Taitt and alto saxophonist Sahib Shibab along with bassist Bob Paige and Blakey. The results are typically pretty good, with the horns performing spectacularly on the ballads of the session ("Monk's Mood" and the legendary "'Round Midnight") and really digging in on an explosive version of "In Walked Bud". It's really quite unfortunate that these were all recorded for singles because several of the solos just start developing when they have to end (due to limitations in the physical media used for the original release).

This reissue, part of the Rudy Van Gelder edition of remasters on Blue Note, features the best sound these sessions have ever received. Monk would make better recordings as time went on, but these are still quite good. Recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential 24 Aug 2010
By RMB - Published on Amazon.com
These are the first recordings of Monk as a leader, and if they sound bad, it's because you have to consider that it was 1947 during the early days of Blue Note, and although the band was familiar with Monk's music, the conditions were far from ideal: the piano Monk used had dead keys and was severely out of tune. It's amazing to think that at one time this music was rejected by most of the jazz community; 60 years later, most of these tunes are now considered "standards." Indeed, his work with Coltrane was top notch, but these are still magnificent, joyous recordings.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Monk Recordings 28 Oct 2008
By Transfigured Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Anyone who collects Thelonious Monk should or probably already owns his Blue Note discography, which didn't really consist of that many recordings. I can only suggest you pick up "Genius Of Modern Music, Volumes 1 and 2" together instead of "The Complete Blue Note Recordings." The sound quality is much better on these single disc collections. The other Blue Note recordings that you should pick up are Sonny Rollins' release simply called "Volume 2" and Monk's "Discovery: Live At The Five Spot" and the newly discovered "Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane: Live At Carnegie Hall," which is an amazing discovery with superb sound quality. All of these albums you can find at reasonable prices.

"Genius Of Modern Music, Vol. 1" like the second volume, captures Monk at the very beginning of his career. Most of these recordings are rough sketches and aren't quite as defined as his later work for Prestige, Riverside, and Columbia, but they offer an insight into a younger Monk and the listener is treated to some of the most innovative jazz music of all time. You're hearing a young master at work with these recordings.

I consider these Blue Note records essential to jazz fans because they show his beginnings as a unique pianist and composer. They also show how unconventional he was with his use of space, angular melodies, and unorthodox harmonies.

I can't stress how important these Blue Note releases are. If you're a fan of Monk, then you should get your hands on everything this madman has done, but start with these albums.
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