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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ugly beauty, 5 Nov 2012
By 
N. Jones "Nic The Pen" (Oxford, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete Thelonious Monk Quartet Columbia Studio Albums Collection (Audio CD)
This box set's title makes no false claims. The albums MONK'S DREAM, CRISS-CROSS, IT'S MONK'S TIME, MONK, STRAIGHT, NO CHASER and UNDERGROUND were recorded between 1962 and 1967 and they're all here, complete with alternate takes on every disc apart from STRAIGHT, NO CHASER.

Considering Monk's posthumous reputation it's surprising that this collection is the fruit of his longest tenure with a record label of any size. Columbia also had Miles Davis on its roster by way of emphasising its importance to American jazz, and in common with Davis Monk produced some of his most intriguingly baffling work for the label, so anyone wanting the comfort zone which often comes with a quartet of tenor sax, piano, bass and drums needs to look elsewhere.

Monk didn't do familiarity, but this collection offers unique insight into the colours and abstractions that can be achieved by those who try, as an earful of `Ugly Beauty' on the UNDERGROUND album shows. Charlie Rouse was both Monk's tenor player of choice for all these albums and a man who took no small measure of critical flak for being neither Sonny Rollins nor John Coltrane, but still his solo on this one is a thing of quiet wonder.

I was but 21 when I bought IT'S MONK'S TIME on vinyl back in 1982, so in a way it was a personal milestone. Decades on I can hear Monk's idiosyncratic way with a standard better than I could then, as on `Lulu's Back in Town' on this album, where his solo expositions bookend the performance.

That way was of course but one element of his artistry. It would be pointless discussing whether or not his abilities as a pianist were greater than his composing abilities especially when taken as a whole this wonderful set offers a great opportunity to go for the full immersion in his art, especially as there's no hype in asserting that he was one of the 20th century's most distinctive composers regardless of the music he worked in, as `Hackensack' on CRISS-CROSS shows as well as anything in this set.

Even though the word `essential' is on the way to being so overused that it no longer has any meaning, this set is essential for anyone who values art which falls outside the ever widening and ever more bland mainstream. To such people I say forget `jazz' or whatever label might be put on it and go for that immersion.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some old friends re-visited, 9 July 2013
By 
R. Carless "Mr C" (Hartlepool, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete Thelonious Monk Quartet Columbia Studio Albums Collection (Audio CD)
I had three of theses albums on vinyl. All much played and long worn out. The quality of playing is high throughout, no weak tracks, just superb ones. Quality of reproduction first class (as you would expect from Sony/Columbia). Packaging just right too. Recommended.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monk's Columbia Studio Output. Complete., 5 Oct 2012
By 
ACB (swansea) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete Thelonious Monk Quartet Columbia Studio Albums Collection (Audio CD)
Monk's place in Jazz and musical heritage is immense. His recordings and output are confusing and have been offered in varying formats. This is, unless I'm corrected, Monk's complete studio Columbia recordings with alternate takes 1962-1968.
This is a 6 CD presentation, not 10. The albums are as follows:
1)CD1,Monk's Dream.
2)CD2,Criss-Cross.
3)CD3,It's Monk's Time.
4)CD4,Monk.
5)CD5,Straight No Chaser.
6)CD6,Underground.

Nearly 7 hours of Monk at a bargain price. The signing of Monk to Columbia following his Blue Note, Prestige and Riverside recordings has been seen by some as a move into a more mainstream jazz profile. Nevertheless, Monk provides a transition from his previous enigmatic period of surprise to this relatively sedate mode. This is not to say his playing or compositional skills have declined. Monk remains a front rank leader and player.

Charlie Rouse is ever present. Many opinions have been voiced and written about him unfairly, I think. Monk stood by him. He is not Coltrane but Monk had evolved. That is enough for me and suggest that they both understood the music. His interpretation of 'Hackensack', 'Liza', 'Rhythm-A-Ning' give him space to perform around Monk's more angular approach. The dominant figure is, as always, Monk. 'Body and Soul', 'Don't Blame Me', 'Sweet and Lovely', 'Eronel' with alternate takes are all Monk. The units are tight, typical of Monk. He was not tolerant of laxity.

Other accompanists supporting Monk include John Ore(b), Frankie Dunlop(d), Butch Warren(b). They really are accompanists to Monk with Rouse. This is complete with booklet and dates, discographical details attractively packaged in a boxed format. The individual albums are generally available, but this is complete and more attractively priced. The live recordings may follow. Highly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just what I wanted, 5 Dec 2013
By 
Mr. A. R. Le May (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Complete Thelonious Monk Quartet Columbia Studio Albums Collection (Audio CD)
Bought as birthday present for my son who wants to expand his experience of modern jazz. Really pleased with the gift.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good Monk selection, 3 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Complete Thelonious Monk Quartet Columbia Studio Albums Collection (Audio CD)
This is a very interesting collection from Thelonious Monk and the Quartet. A nicely produced view of this period of his output.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monk 10cd Box Set, 19 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Complete Thelonious Monk Quartet Columbia Studio Albums Collection (Audio CD)
This is an absolutely superb box set containing all of Monk's Quartet recordings on the Columbia label. Accompanied by Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, the tracks really swing and have been well remastered.

At this price it is a steal and should be in every jazz lover's library.
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