Thelonious Monk Trio - Thelonious Monk Trio (1954/2014) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/44,1kHz
Artist: Thelonious Monk Trio
Title: Thelonious Monk Trio
Genre: Jazz, Bop, Piano Jazz
Label: © Prestige Records/Concord Music Group
Release Date: 1954/2014
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC 2.0 Mono 44,1kHz/24bit
Recorded: October 15 (#5,6,7,8), December 18 (#3,4,9,10), 1952, and September 22 (#1,2), 1954 at the Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, NJ
Remastered: 2007, Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
The position of legendary figure is usually reserved for a deceased musician who has played two decades before. It usually requires this posthumous status and span of time, for the various stories concerning him to grow into a legend but it took a very much alive Thelonious Monk only five years to surround himself with an air of mystery and receive the title “High Priest of Bebop” in the Forties.
Perhaps this element of weird glamour prevented many people from enjoying Monk’s music to the fullest extent. Certainly he is always low man on the totem pole whenever the triumvirate of the founding fathers of bop is evaluated. This is due in part, no doubt, to the greater solo prowess of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, but Thelonious’s contributions in time, chord patterns, and the original lines resulting from them were unjustly minimized. Actually they were the basis for much of the jazz of the Forties and Fifties.
Today he stands as an individual, a highly original musician who is the mentor of many young musicians in New York and the influence of countless others all over the globe. In his writing and playing, he consistently proves his right to the often misapplied title of creator. This album is composed of two separate sessions. As a belated sequel to Thelonious’s successful trio sessions of 1952, this one was also richly rewarding.
Though not a great soloist from the standpoint of technique, brilliance, and flash, Monk’s originality of style and width of idea serve to make him a highly interesting and important one. His playing can be characterized by roast beef, and a martini in which vermouth plays a very minor supporting role; much meat and very dry.
Pianist, composer and ranking bop pioneer Thelonious Monk made a heap of recordings during his lifetime (1917-82) and, generally speaking, the further back in time you go the more magical they are. Thelonious Monk Trio (Prestige, 1954), here in a Rudy Van Gelder remaster edition, is early Monk and amongst the most eternal of his albums.
The disc catches Monk playing with the same revolutionary zeal as characterized his earlier masterpieces Genius Of Modern Music Volume 1 (Blue Note, 1947-48) and Volume 2 (Blue Note, 1947-52), and before the later, more prepared, structural and conceptual achievements of Brilliant Corners (Riverside, 1956) and Monk's Music (Riverside, 1957), with their bigger line-ups.
Prestige boss Bob Weinstock famously ran a no-frills, no-rehearsals, cash-money operation, and Thelonious Monk Trio catches Monk at the top of his on-the-hoof game during three sessions spanning his 1952-54 period with the label. Monk's compositions are still fresh (he wrote most of his signature works during the Blue Note/Prestige years) and his playing of them vigorous and exploratory (qualities which diminished alarmingly during his 1960s period with Columbia). His deconstructions of standard songs, three of which ("Just A Gigolo," "Sweet And Lovely" and, la creme de la creme, "These Foolish Things") are included here, are simultaneously subversive, celebratory, parodic and affectionate.
And everything, standard or original, swings like crazy. At this period like no other, Monk's rhythmic attack packed the power of an express train. He really didn't need a drummer. His keyboard rhythms—stated or implied—carried all before them. The majority of the tracks here feature Art Blakey on drums, but the most drumtastic are the four featuring Max Roach ("Trinkle, Tinkle," "These Foolish Things," "Bemsha Swing" and "Reflections"). Blakey lays down a solid righteous beat, of course, but the more interactive and light-footed Roach pretty much lets Monk carry the swing, himself preferring to play around and mess with it. Some people prefer the Monk/Blakey combination, but to my ears the Monk/Roach wildcard wins every time.
It's all a winning hand though, and available here in a fine remaster featuring crisp cymbal and snare drum textures and richer bass frequencies, be they on the piano, the bass or the bass drum. As another bonus, Ira Gitler puts up some new anecdotes in his liner notes. When Gitler, who supervised the 1952 session which produced "Trinkle, Tinkle," asked for its title, Monk replied "through clenched teeth," and Gitler didn't hear his intended title ("Twinkle Twinkle," as he later learned) properly. But what's in a name? This is immortal, stratospheric music. --Chris May, All About Jazz
1. Blue Monk 07:39
2. Just A Gigolo 03:01
3. Bemsha Swing 03:10
4. Reflections 02:48
5. Little Rootie Tootie 03:06
6. Sweet And Lovely 03:34
7. Bye-Ya 02:47
8. Monk's Dream 03:07
9. Trinkle, Tinkle 02:50
10. These Foolish Things 02:46
Thelonious Monk, piano
Gary Mapp, bass (#3-10)
Percy Heath, bass (#1,2)
Art Blakey, drums (#3-10)
Max Roach, drums (#1,2)
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