This is one of Thelonious Monk's most important records, even though it was his last studio session. He went out with a bang, with old friends Art Blakey and Al McKibbon on board in late 1971…
This is one of Thelonious Monk's most important records, even though it was his last studio session. He went out with a bang, with old friends Art Blakey and Al McKibbon on board in late 1971. (Any Monk record made after this is a concert bootleg with reluctant participation by Thelonious.)
When he set foot on the stage of Club Doelen on Oct. 28, 1967 in Rotterdam, Thelonious Monk had just turned 50. 15 years later, he disappeared from the music scene and spent his 6 final years in New York, at Pannonica de Koenigswater's, and never touched a piano again.
The studio and live recording sessions that Thelonious Monk cut during his six-year stay at the Riverside label are compiled over the 15 discs in the Complete Riverside Recordings. This middle era – between his early sides for Prestige and the final ones for Columbia – is generally considered Monk's most ingenious and creative period. The sessions are presented in chronological order, accurately charting the progression and diversions of one of the most genuinely enigmatic figures in popular music. The Complete Riverside Recordings explores Monk's genius with a certain degree of real-time analysis that simply listening to each of the individual albums from this era lacks.
With his odd rhythmic spacing, discordant resolves and his circular yet angular compositional style, Thelonious Monk remains one of the most singular figures in all of jazz, and virtually every one of his recordings is as enigmatic as the pianist himself was. This set combines his five albums for Columbia Records, 1962's Criss Cross and Monk's Dream, 1964's Solo Monk, 1966's Straight, No Chaser, and 1967's Underground, in a single package, and anyone thinking Monk wasn't as vital during those years really needs to hear this stuff. It's classic Monk, and this collection is a great way to get it in a single swoop.