Top positive review
33 people found this helpful
on 1 October 2005
In one word, "WOW!!" Sorry for my lack of eloquence, but if you want superb articulation, expression, originality, creativity, delivery, verve, just listen to the "Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane," the find of the 21st century and a real buried treasure! The 1957 concert, spotlighting pianist/composer Thelonious Monk and tenor saxophonist John Coltrane, took place at New York City's Carnegie Hall and was recorded with state-of-the-art equipment by Voice of America for a later radio broadcast, (which never occurred). The tapes were located, (by sheer chance), at the Library of Congress in Washington DC early this year. The concert was a benefit for the Morningside Community Center in Harlem, and the line-up of artists also included Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Chet Baker with Zoot Sims, and Sonny Rollins. Another "WOW!!"
Coltrane and Monk had been playing together for approximately four months at the Five Spot. The quality of their working relationship is evident from the extraordinary opening piano/saxophone dialogue of "Monk's Mood" through "Epistrophy," the last cut of the two 25-minute sets which make up the CD. There are actually two versions of "Epostrophy" here, the complete one showcasing Monk at his best, and an incomplete second take in which Coltrane simply shines.
The musicians are clearly at ease with each other and confident with Monk's tricky, quirky keyboard compositions. They each contribute outstanding solos accompanied by bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik and drummer Shadow Wilson. Monk's music, his idiosyncratic piano sound and compositions, have had a tremendous impact on modern jazz, even now, almost twenty-five years after his death. However, his recordings from this period are rare.
This never-before-heard jazz classic was just released by Blue Note Records, in conjunction with Thelonious Records, and is sublime. The album documents one of the most important working bands in the history of jazz. I rejoice that this lost music, just glorious, has been found and that I can listen to it anytime I want. 10 Stars and worthy of the highest recommendation!!