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Jazz Moods - 'Round Midnight: Thelonious Monk

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Album Review

This is essentially a sampler of tracks drawn from Thelonious Monk's 1960s stay at Columbia Records, a period that coincided with his 11-year partnership with tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse. Monk worked with some phenomenal tenor players over the years, including Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane, but it was the decidedly un-flashy Rouse who had perhaps the best affinity for Monk's odd, angular compositions, and his sax lines show the same tight use of space and time that are the hallmarks of Monk, both as a composer and as a piano player. The brief, beautiful, and understated "Crepuscule With Nellie," included here, is a case in point, opening with Monk solo on piano, with Rouse bringing in a simple and sympathetic sax line halfway through the composition that broadens the melody, which then spreads out as calm and gorgeous as a river meeting the delta. Several cuts of Monk solo at the piano are also collected here, including the wonderful opening track, "Ruby, My Dear." As a brief sampler of Monk's often underrated Columbia years, this set works fine, but unfortunately the liner notes are a problem, with virtually every track listed as coming from the wrong original album. "Crepuscule With Nellie," for instance, is listed as being from the album Monk's Dream when it actually appeared on Criss-Cross, and the alternate take four of "Ugly Beauty" included here is cited as a track from Criss-Cross when it originally appeared as a bonus track on the reissued version of Underground. For most listeners this will only be a minor problem, but Monk was a stickler for detail in his compositions and he deserves to have his music presented correctly.


Born: October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, NC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

The most important jazz musicians are the ones who are successful in creating their own original world of music with its own rules, logic, and surprises. Thelonious Monk, who was criticized by observers who failed to listen to his music on its own terms, suffered through a decade of neglect before he was suddenly acclaimed as a genius; his music had not changed one bit in the interim. In fact, one of the more remarkable aspects of Monk's music was that it was fully formed by 1947 and he saw no need...
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Jazz Moods - 'Round Midnight: Thelonious Monk, Thelonious Monk
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Bop
  • Released: Jun 15, 2004

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