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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 2 January 2009
Can't add much to the excellent reviews already posted but hope the following comments will be of interest. This box set is the new slim type that will easily get through your letterbox. Each CD is in a mini version of the 12' LP cover so it should be pointed out that this package contains 22 tracks not on the original LPs. No recording dates are given but I think the following are correct:-
"Monks Dream" and "Solo Monk" = 31st Oct 1962 to 6th Nov 1962.
"Criss Cross" = 6th Nov 1962 to 29th Mar 1963.
"Straight No Chaser" = 14th Nov 1966 to 11th Jan 1967
"Underground" = 14th Dec 1967 to 14th Feb 1968.
I was fortunate enough to see Monk in concert in the early 1960s in London sharing the bill with a particularly good version of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. As a result I bought the first CD versions of "Monks Dream" and "Criss Cross". These new cuts contain tracks I had not heard before including "Coming On The Hudson", a Monk original I have been longing to own.
Superb value for money and, together with the recent Avid package, an essential purchase.
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on 11 June 2008
Brilliant collection from Monk's phase of collaborating (mostly) with Charlie Rouse in the form of a quartet, or playing solo, this small box contains a lot of brilliant music, original compositions and compact performances...

Rouse was criticized by some for being to rigidly monkish in his execution, of having no individual voice, but to contribute to such magnificent art is by no means small achievement. He is no John Coltrane or Clark Terry, some of the giants Monk worked with on equall basis, but he was capable of digging into Monk's music. For crying out loud: even Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, in their famous album with Monk became an extension of Monk's mind (and, with Johnny Griffin on board, it was by no means one of the lesser line-ups of the Jazz Messengers).

Monk plays beautifully throughout, giving some fresh songs, fresh recordings of his older gems and improvisations on standards.
For instance, on Solo Monk he plays "Dinah" and "These Foolish Things", on "Criss-Cross" he plays "Tea for Two", etc...

For some variance (admittedly, these albums ARE similar in execution and the line-up), the great modern vocalist Jon Hendricks has a glorious vocalising guest appearance on the album "Underground".

Great collection, great general intro to Monk's work, great overview of a later stage of Monk's magnificent carreer, this collection is a great value for money...
BTW - on one of the albums the liner notes were written by the legendary baroness Pannonica...
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VINE VOICEon 12 December 2008
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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Collected here are five full Thelonious Monk albums from the period 1962-1967. The five discs come in separated card slipcases which are reproductions of the original LP sleeves. All are collected into a sturdy large card slipcase. The albums have been beautifully remastered and sound amazing. There is also a wealth of extras on each disc for the real enthusiast. Some people disapprove of the cheap packaging, but frankly I think this is a well put together set, giving five original albums for the price of one. I've had a few of these Columbia collections now and been very impressed (especially the Duke Ellington set). It is the music which is important, and that is superbly presented. For those who want more text and album credits, there is a web address on the outer case that provides full details. The sleeves are clear enough to see the impressive artwork, especially on `Straight, No Chaser', which has to be one of the greatest album covers of all time, a surreal motif that perfectly matches the music contained therein.

These albums are typical of Monk's music. Classy sounding, elegant, restrained jazz. With a mixture of tempos from the exuberant to the moody, the music is full of Monk's inventive, yet melodic signature sound. Aided by sympathetic accompanists, who flesh the tunes out and give them a rich texture, this is a collection of superb jazz that should be in the collection of any lover of the genre. An excellent set, five stars.
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After reading the excellent reviews on here I noted that there is no track listing so one would of of use.
Track listing
1. Locomotive
2. I Didn't Know About You
3. Straight No Chaser
4. Japanese Folk Song
5. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
6. We See
7. This is My Story This is My Song
8. I Didn't Know About You
9. Green Chimneys

1. Thelonious
2. Ugly Beauty
3. Raise Four
4. Boo Boo's Birthday
5. Easy Street
6. Green Chimneys
7. In Walked Bud
8. Ugly Beauty
9. Boo Boo's Birthday
10. Thelonious

1. Hackensack
2. Tea For Two
3. Criss Cross
4. Eronel
5. Rhythm a Ning
6. Don't Blame Me
7. Think of One
8. Crepuscule With Nellie
9. Pannonica
10. Coming On the Hudson
11. Tea For Two
12. Eronel

1. Monk's Dream
2. Body and Soul
3. Bright Mississippi
4. Five Spot Blues
5. Bolivar Blues
6. Just a Gigolo
7. Bye Ya
8. Sweet and Lonely
9. Monk's Dream
10. Body and Soul
11. Bright Mississippi
12. Bolivar Blues

1. Dinah
2. I Surrender Dear
3. Sweet and Lovely
4. North of the Sunset
5. Ruby My Dear
6. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
7. I Hadn't Anyone Till You
8. Everything Happens To Me
9. Monk's Point
10. I Should Care
11. Ask Me Now
12. These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)
13. Introspection
14. Darn That Dream
15. Dinah
16. Sweet and Lovely
17. Ruby My Dear
18. I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)
19. I Hadn't Anyone Till You
20. Everything Happens To Me
21. Untitled
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on 9 July 2012
One of the true jazz greats,in a compendium of some of his later,better recorded,material.Monk is a one off,and you'd be foolish to miss this collection,at a very reasonable price. Is it something to pass up--not on your Nellie!(Or Monk's,for that matter.)
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on 31 March 2011
I first heard his music on a documentary about Pannonica Rothschild, the daughter of Charles Rothschild. I had never heard jazz like it before and was enthralled. Just fabulous music.
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on 31 December 2011
This album is really worth the money,its almost a give away.It consists of of five cds and they are all excellent.
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on 19 June 2016
Although some of the CDs aren't Monk's greatest this collection does feature very good music and overall is very good value.
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on 27 October 2013
One of Thelonious Monk's greatest albums. It took me back to the fifties when I first started listening to him.
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