Don’t confuse this one with Thelonious Monk’s 1964 studio LP of the same name. This version of Monk is a previously-unreleased live recording taped a year earlier, in Copenhagen, for Danish radio. Along with a stellar band made up of Frankie Dunlop, Charlie Rouse and John Orr, this recording is yet another casual masterpiece from the late, great pianist. Contains a super version of 'Nutty'.
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I’m going to assume I don’t need to tell you that a live set from Thelonious Monk is very good indeed. ‘Mønk’ is from back in his days of trailblazing with the line-up of drummer Frankie Dunlop (who also played with Mingus, Rollins and other legends), saxophonist Charlie Rouse and double bassist John Ore. One of his most beloved groups, its a breezy showcase of virtuosity for the lot, moving between a reel of piano improvisations for Monk on “Bye-Ya” to a listless solo from Rouse on the classic “Nutty” that’s as melodic as it is blistering and blinding.
There’s plenty of different Monks to get involved in, here, with the balladeering side of the legend evoked on the very aptly titled “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You”, a George Bassman original in which sparse chords are almost attacked with fondness and nostalgia. The song becomes a neatly swung improvisation that subtly hides the peculiar playing style and flow of Monk that lies underneath. Elsewhere we get a version of the absolutely iconic “Monk’s Dream” that’ll want collecting by all Monk fans. Well worth your time whether you're long or fresh on Monk.
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