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A Genius Of Modern Music At A Bargain Price,
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This review is from: Straight, No Chaser / Underground / Criss-Cross / Monk's Dream / Solo Monk (Original Album Classics) (Audio CD)
Idiosyncratic is a phrase simply made for Thelonius Monk. Through the 50's Monk was something of a peculiarity. He had written almost all of his major works and then lost his performance card and so couldn't play in New York for a good number of years. Finally he managed to get some recordings with Riverside and his reputation grew and grew as people finally got to hear the strange rolling slide piano with the jarring quirks and his brilliant compositional ear.
Once the fame hit he moved to Sony and here collected are 5 of his offerings either solo or with his regular quartet. The key addition was Charile Rouse who joined Monk onstage for a Newport Jazz Festival gig in the early 60's and never left his side again throughout the decade.
The group stuff is the most interesting as it highlights the almost perfect gel between Monk and Rouse. Their interplay indicates a wonderful, empathetic musical union. Listen to anything on the excellent "Underground" album, or "Crepuscule For Nellie" on the "Criss-Cross" album for the perfect take of one of his finest compostions. This is a wonderful set with able support from drummer Frankie Dunlop and bassist John Ore - the unsung rhythmic powerhouse of this consistently excellent quartet. Throughout this box set there is a pervasive sense that these people thougroughly enjoy playing alongside each other.
The solo set, like many of his works, includes a great deal of material that has been done before but Monk's revisits seem to re-imagine pieces and there is much to enjoy on this set. It includes 9 additional tracks which are all worthy additions to the Monk canon.
Hats off to Sony for packaging their back catalogue at a price which will tempt people to buy music from artists in a time of downloads. Monk alone or with his trusted 60's quartet cook up a storm. At this price, simply not to be missed.
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Initial post: 23 May 2010 16:33:55 BDT
Jl Adcock says:
Have just picked a copy of this up for myself - couldn't agree more with your review. Spot on - and totally agree about the cost-effective release versus downloads. John.
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