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The Columbia Years '62-'68

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Album Review

This aptly titled triple-disc compilation examines Thelonious Monk's final years as an active recording artist. The Columbia Years: 1962-1968 is a superior primer for those seeking a thorough overview of this fertile, expressive, and oft-maligned period of Monk's career. In addition to embracing the bright moments from Monk's early- to mid-'60s studio and live releases, compilation producer Orrin Keepnews — Thelonious' original recording producer during his formidable tenure on the Riverside label — has included several restored performances and a few previously unissued pieces as well. The Columbia Years: 1962-1968 is subdivided into "studio" and "live" performances with each musical configuration represented. These include Monk as a soloist, in a trio, a quartet, and in a big-band context. These varied settings further augment Thelonious Monk as not only an instinctual presence on the keyboard, but as a craftsman of timeless melody, harmony, and rhythmic counterpoint. "Think of One," "Blue Monk," and a solo "Don't Blame Me" are among the newly mined treasures exclusive to The Columbia Years: 1962-1968. As one might presume, there are no icon-shattering discoveries among the restorations or debut releases. In their stead is a resurrection of the brilliant sound lost on previous cassette and poorly mastered CD releases. Particularly notable are the live tracks with their tangible electric vibe. "Straight, No Chaser" — taken from the September 1964 Monterey Jazz Festival — draws the listener into its confidence with satisfying crispness and warmth. Likewise, "Evidence" and "Epistrophy" — taken from the soundtrack of the award-winning documentary film Straight, No Chaser — no longer sound out of phase. In fact, the contrary would be more accurate. The conclusion of Thelonious Monk's brilliant recording career is lovingly captured on this box set. His inventive wisdom and candid spirit shine through every note.


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...
Full Bio
The Columbia Years '62-'68, Thelonious Monk
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  • $24.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop, Bop
  • Released: Jun 19, 2001

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