With this recording, Monk began his tenure at Riverside Records, which was very fruitful and lasted till around the early sixties when Columbia stole him away. The idea was that Monk was gaining popularity, but he was still a tough act to get used to for a lot of people because of the idiosyncratic compositions and piano style. So they suggested an album of someone else's material, to let those less familiar with Monk get used to his playing before confronting the genius of his writing. And who better than Duke to supply the material--Duke, whose playing, along with James P. Johnson and some of the other stride players, influenced Monk a great deal. The result is--surprise, surprise--an absolutely brilliant record. Ellington is reinvented, as is anyone lucky enough to be filtered through Monk's genius. The most wonderful thing is that there is no conflict of musical personalities, no struggle between the old and the new. There is more than enough room for both, and these recordings turn out to be at once purely Ellington and purely Monk. And Thelonious is helped in no small part by drummer Kenny Clarke and bassist Oscar Pettiford, two of the best players of their time. The highlights are every song.