Thelonious Monk appreciation thread

Hot damn, but the man was a genius. I’m presently giving a complete listen to the Mosaic Blue Note Recordings LPs prior to listing them for sale. Ruby My Dear is now on, and is sublime. The artists he played with, such as Art Blakey, were outstanding. Next Mosaic set will be Clifford Brown, I think. Now I have to go kiss my wife for taking such good care of these records.

I love Thelonious Monk. Monk Alone (a little box set of Monk solo recordings - just him and his piano, no band) has a place in the regular rotation of my driving CD’s.

A masterwork.

That guy could hit any note on the piano in almost any context and make it sound good. Monk is a genius. I remember one book of jazz piano solos I had in high school had a transcription of his work. I’m looking at the music thinking, how in the hell could this possibly sound good? (Not having heard any of his records at the time and just trying to play through the sheet music.) Then my jazz teacher found a recording of the tune (I believe it was “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”) Even though I had the notes in front of me, there just was no way I could get it to sound like he did.

ETA: I believe it was this version. It sounds so effortless and natural coming from him, but if you listen to and see the music for it, the harmonies are just off-the-wall different. And to make it swing like that…

Love Round Midnight. The man is a genius, no question.

I got the Mosaic set burned to iTunes and put it up on Craigslist, but the response is underwhelming. Maybe I’ll try eBay after all, although I hate their fees and BS.

If you’re curious, I just looked through the complete listings on eBay, and that set (in near mint on LP) sold for $80-$100. Just so you know, I personally avoid buying on Craigslist for anything but items I really want to pick up locally, as Craigslist sellers tend to (in my experience) be a bit, shall we say, optimistic about the value of their sales.

Thanks. I’d seen those sales and hoped for a bit better price, so was trying to avoid ebay. Well, it’s either that or donate them to the local jazz station and take the tax credit.

I just recently got Monks Dream on CD and all I can say is wow! I’m 47 years old and am so sorry I only now had this as a part of my life. A very good overview of TM is at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelonius_Monk. He most likley had Alzheimers Disease. Very typical signs and symptoms (I’m an RN).

We have several more of his LPs downstairs that I’m eager to get to. Perhaps after the Clifford Brown LPs. Chet Baker awaits, as well.

You have some good listening ahead - be sure and add Bud Powell to the list.

I love Monk - I have been listening to Bright Mississippi off of Monk’s Dream a lot lately - the one that sounds like Sweet Georgia Brown played sideways (which is basically how he wrote it ;)). I got a 2-CD live set from France where he stretches out on a lot of his best pieces…really fun to put on in the kitchen on a weekend morning.

as a reminder, here is the thread on jazzI started a coupla months ago - some folks did a nice job describing Monk’s approach by the 3rd/last page of the thread - **Dio **in particular summarized what listening to Monk is like really well…

Misterioso is one of my all-time favorites.

I’ve never been a Jazz fan so a couple of months ago I rented Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser. Nope, sorry. I honestly gave it a shot, and it really didn’t do it for me.

I’ve also had the beer named after him, which will knock you on your ass if you, like me, didn’t realize it’s 9.3%. It’s not bad, there are better Abbey Ales out there, but it’s not bad.

Monk is probably not the place to start your jazz listening. It took me awhile to really get his groove.

WordMan: A check of the inventory shows no Bud Powell, I’m afraid. I’ve got the Mosaic Complete Art Pepper Small Group, though. Also Gerry Mulligan. Several Cannonball Adderley (who I think is underrated by many) LPs, a big Time-Life collection of Ellington, lots of Ben Webster, a Sidney Bechet collection, and lots more. All of it needs to be burned, so this is going to be quite a project to finish. Then I get to start on the box of jazz 45s that I still have after an aborted attempt to sell them on this board.

Oooo - lots of great stuff. Do you have Gerry Mulligan Encounters Ben Webster (or something close to that) - has a great version of Chelsea Bridge on it. Ben is probably my favorite sax player, alongside Sonny Rollins.

Bud Powell was the guy I think of as part of the Bebop core team: Dizzy, Charlie Parker, Max Roach and, I dunno, I guess Ron Carter on bass (I may have that wrong off the top of my head) and Bud on the keys. But he died early and didn’t have the chance to get as well known. Same as Clifford Brown on trumpet.

Cannonball rocks - if you don’t have Something Else, which features the Kind of Blue players on a Cannonball-first recording, it is worth checking out. And I love what I have heard of Art Pepper - …meets the Rhythm section is another where a guy is working with the players from Miles’ Kind of Blue for a CD. Pepper’s book - Straight Time, I think it is called - is an excellent insight into a jazz cat’s path through life - not easy and certainly not on the right side of the tracks…

Yes, I have Somethin’ Else, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!, Beginnings, and the Japanese Concerts. Most of these artists played for each other on various recordings, and I’m sure I have some stuff with Powell playing with the group.

A lot of bop guys including Bud and Richie Powell grew up with Monk. I think of Elmo Hope (or maybe Herbie Nichols) as being closer to Monk’s idiosyncracies as anybody, but a little more easy-listener-friendly.

Think of Monk like this way – if you take two notes and make a chord in the LH – like a minor seven chord with the root on the bottom, it will sound odd when Monk plays it. But it’s nothing different.

Probably a lot of people got into him by watching the video of him sliding his feet around and contorting his fingers around, but probably just as many enjoyed hearing his compositions played by him or especially other people.

Psychologists probably got into him because he was an interesting guy.

I guess we all find our own way into Monk.

FWIW I think for me the deepest album was Live in San Francisco – just him, solo, on a good piano, playing good tunes, and not getting too out there. When I was in High School my sister brought a boyfriend over while I was taking mushrooms or something and we were talking and I put the album on. It was uncanny then, and somewhat still uncanny now. He did a bunch of standards like that Matt Dennis one … “Everything Happens To Me” which for me is beautiful about how to get his sound off regular old chords anybody can play.

Shit, they’re all good. All good albums by Monk. [George Bluth] “He was a great man” [/George Bluth]