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The Best of the Blue Note Years

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Album Review

For listeners unsure about diving into Monk's entire Blue Note catalog, this best-of roundup makes for a very fine alternative. Covering his bebop-era work from the late '40s and early '50s, the 16-track collection finds Monk in his early prime with such up-and-coming jazz standards as "Ruby, My Dear," "In Walked Bud," "'Round Midnight," and "Straight No Chaser." And unlike much of the pianist's later work on Riverside and Columbia, here the sound is compact and fleet, with some of the best solos to be heard on any classic bop date. One can especially credit the likes of Lou Donaldson, Lucky Thompson, Kenny Dorham, and Art Blakey for that. And there's several stellar sidemen and 12 sides of peak jazz still to mention.


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

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