This overlooked live album from the great pianist/composer Thelonious Monk(1917-1982) was recorded at the Five Spot Cafe, New York City on August 7 & July 9, 1958. With the pianist were tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin(1928-2008), who had a close understanding of Monk's music, and a superb rhythm section of Ahmed Abdul-Malik(bass) & Roy Haynes(drums). It's a pity that this exciting quartet didn't record together more often. Everyone is on exuberant form on the ten tracks including three bonus performances. Highlights are the rarely-played 'Coming On The Hudson', 'Rhythm-A-Ning' & 'Evidence'. This atmospheric live recording contains over an hour of inventive and exhilarating music and deserves a place in any modern jazz collection along with its companion album 'Misterioso'.
I sometimes wonder if this was Monk's greatest recording. I have a lot of Monk, but not everything by a long chalk, so to be definite is impossible. It's without doubt a very fine album. Recorded in concert at the "Five Spot" in 1958 with Johnny Griffin (tnr), Ahmed abdul-Malik (b) and Roy Haynes (d). [I debate whether Griffin or Rouse is the better interpreter of Monk's music]. This is a very fine quartet, and Monk and Griffin play brilliantly. In the ten track programme here there are plenty of his "top tunes" e.g. "blue Monk", "Evidence", "Rhythm-n-ning" plus some rarely performed tunes such as "Coming On The Hudson". Every Monk album is good, many superb...this is definitely in the latter category.
a fantastic compilation from 2 nights at the 5 spot club. an amazing band with great performances from everyone with Johnny Griffin in particular on incredible form. there are other versions of this available but the sound quality and mastering etc. are excellent here. if you only want to buy one Monk record then this has got to be strongly recommended. great tunes too!