on 16 July 2009
I purchased the original LP issue forty-plus years ago during my student days. It has lasted the years as a all-time favourite recording. This CD restores edits to three of the tracks, adds two recordings from the same sessions, plus an alternative take. This is a classic latter day Monk quartet, Ben Riley drums, Larry Gales bass and Charlie Rouse on tenor. They rework four Monk compositions, two 'new' recordings by other composers, plus two Monk piano solos. The CD sound quality is first class. Excellent notes, this how how a re-issue should be done. If you are new to jazz, an essential buy. If you like Monk, highly recommended.
This overlooked studio album from the great pianist/composer Thelonious Monk(1917-1982) was recorded in New York City on November 14/15, 1966 & January 10, 1967 with Charlie Rouse(tenor sax); Larry Gales(bass) & Ben Riley(drums).
Three tunes, 'Straight No Chaser', 'We See' & 'Japanese Folk Song' have been restored to their original unedited length while two previously unreleased performances have been included.
Everyone is in exuberant form on the nine tracks which feature four Monk originals. Highlights include an animated version of 'Straight No Chaser', 'Green Chimneys' named after the school of Monk's daughter, Barbara, the 16-minute 'Japanese Folk Song' & Monk's piano solo 'Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea'.
'Straight No Chaser' is a little-known Monk album containing 76 minutes of inventive and exhilarating music that deserves a place in any modern jazz collection.
on 22 January 2015
One of the benefits of retirement is that it gives you a chance to get to know things that you never had time to explore before. I've been reading Ted Goia's books about jazz -- the latest is "The Jazz Standards," and earlier there was a history of Jazz -- and Thelonius Monk's career comes up in the chapter about Bebop and the transition from "swing" and jazz as entertainment to the idea of jazz as a kind of art-music. Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie are the musicians mentioned along with Monk in this context, and when I saw a chance to pick up the album "Straight, No Chaser" (recorded in 1966-67) at a reduced price, I jumped at it. And it's great -- I don't know enough about the context to discuss it intelligently, but it's an absolute pleasure to listen to. Charlie Rouse is on tenor sax, Larry Gates on bass, and Ben Riley on drums, with Monk on the piano, and what an inventive and lucid pianist he is. My tastes being a bit retro, I really liked "I didn't know about you," an Ellington composition that is played with great feeling that contrasts with the more objective, shall we say "aesthetic," appeal of the rest of the material, but it's all so inventive and even playful that you can't resist it. Orrin Keepnews, who produced Monk's earlier recordings on Riverside Records, was called in by Columbia to oversee the reissue of this one, and his essay in the program book is fascinating, as he tells how he was able to restore cuts that had been made to get the music within a manageable time frame for a 1960's LP. So in a sense, this is a truer record of the sessions that led to the original issue. The sound is lovely, and in the longer pieces, the rhythm section gets its chance to shine. The musical conversation between Monk and Rouse is a constant pleasure throughout.