Thelonious Monk recommendations

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Isamet, May 25, 2018.

  1. Isamet

    Isamet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    Purchased the RSD Vinyl "Monk," and was astounded not only by the sound of the vinyl but the quality of the music of course. But which album of his is generally recommended as his "masterpiece?" And what kind of media is the best way to listen to it? Also any other Monk suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    You could begin with any one of these (or all of them). I'd go chronologically, others might do it differently:

    Round Midnight: The Complete Blue Note Singles
    is I think the best way to hear his earliest recordings as a leader and some of his best plus the takes that introduce most of his most famous compositions

    Thelonious Monk Trio on Prestige pulls together his great early trio dates for the label is almost a primer in the Monk piano style and also features the introduction of more classics

    Brilliant Corners is a great and great sounding album featuring Sonny Rollins and one of Monk's most brilliant original tunes

    Thelonious Himself is Monk's first solo piano album and the version of "Round Midnight" is like a little Monk piano sonata

    Monk's Music may be Monk's best single album (although with a guy whose recording career began in 1948, albums aren't really the best measure of Monk's output)

    Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall -- historic and influential if short-lived '57 quartet with Coltrane captured live
     
  3. Isamet

    Isamet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    For the Brilliant Corners album, what is the best vinyl pressing? And is it available on SACD?
     
  4. correctodad

    correctodad Forum Resident

  5. speedway

    speedway Forum Resident

    Location:
    France
    There is a great documentary "Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser".
     
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  6. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Others will have to answer that. I have it on an '80s OJC vinyl pressing of Brilliant Corners which is great and which I've never had any reason to replace. Though I wouldn't eschew the earlier stuff. The Blue Note stuff is really the stuff over the years that I find myself returning to more and more -- there's always new stuff I hear in that -- and especially since the Singles set has come out -- which is a better set for listening than any of the earlier ways the material has been organized, and the best sound on the stuff to date. And the Trio album is just the most Monkiest Monk piano record. As a pianist I listen to that album and I think one could almost make a concordance of Monk pianoisms from it.

    If you're looking for great Monk albums that also have great sound and have gotten audiophile reissues -- Alone in San Francisco is something else; Monk's Music is a great sounding album, most people prefer the mono version, but although it's distant sounding, the stereo version is terrific too. Again I have old OJC versions of these, but here are lots of choices out there others can speak too.
     
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  7. sami

    sami Mono Rules

    Location:
    Jersey Shore
    All of the above, and make sure you grab the two live records he did with Johnny Griffin at the Five Spot in 1958, Misterioso and Thelonious in Action. Arguably my favorite Monk along with Brilliant Corners and 5 by Monk by 5..
     
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  8. PCM7027

    PCM7027 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ireland
    Underground (1968).
     
  9. humpf

    humpf Allowed to write something here.

    Location:
    Silesia
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  10. pbuzby

    pbuzby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL, US
    Monk's Dream is one I would recommend in addition to those others have mentioned.
     
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  11. humpf

    humpf Allowed to write something here.

    Location:
    Silesia
    Brillant Corners usually.

    But get his complete output for Blue Note in a format of your choice. Also most of his Riverside recordings are really worth it as well as any of his solo recordings at least until early 60s.
     
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  12. fallbreaks

    fallbreaks Forum Resident

    Monk's Dream is really easy on the ears. It's got a decent selection of his compositions, in solo and band formats, and while it's not his most fiery or groundbreaking recording, it's got that great Columbia studios vibe and really captures that late 50s/early 60s classic jazz album feel. Similar sound to Kind of Blue or Mingus Ah Um, also recorded at Columbia, if you know those.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
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  13. Claus

    Claus Restaurant Critic

    Location:
    Germany
    Monk's Dream sounds great on SACD by ORG.
     
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  14. Bobby Boogaloo

    Bobby Boogaloo Heavy on the grease please

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic USA
    You can't go wrong with any of these recs. My personal favorites of what I own are the Monk Trio on Prestige that Chervokas mentions above, and Monk's Music. Generally I love Monk the most in a trio setting.

    Edit: Adding Milt Jackson's Wizard of the Vibes here as I really enjoy Milt & Monk playing together. It's got a bit of a convoluted release history you can read here: Wizard of the Vibes - Wikipedia
     
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  15. Isamet

    Isamet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    Does anyone know if this pressing of Brilliant Corners is supposed to be good?

    Brilliant Corners
     
  16. Bobby Boogaloo

    Bobby Boogaloo Heavy on the grease please

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic USA
    I wouldn't pay that much for any Wax Time LP. It's a public domain company and there's a good chance that it used a CD source. I'd go for a simple OJC CD (non CD-R) as you can probably pick one up for less than $12 and the SQ will be good. I've got Monk's Music on one of those and it's a good player.
     
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  17. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    Vinyl - Steve’s 45s
    CD - The Japan first pressing
     
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  18. Radio

    Radio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
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  19. petem1966

    petem1966 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Anything with Ruby My Dear. Love that song! Not much help, I know, but thought I'd chime in :)
     
  20. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Location:
    tokyo
    The Teor Sessions box became too expensive today.
     
  21. garrincha

    garrincha Forum Resident

    Location:
    Plymouth, UK
    the recent vinyl pressing of Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane - At Carnegie Hall is essential listening and also very reasonably priced for a double album. decent liner notes, too
     
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  22. DTK

    DTK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    You can't go wrong with Monk. His post 1960 output is not always inspired, but it's still quality music. Rare for a major artist, there's almost no budget label/cash in type of releases, aside for some undated 60s live recordings which are pretty good.
     
  23. Fender Relic

    Fender Relic Forum Resident

    Location:
    Central PA
    I like a lot of the albums mentioned above but my favorite that I've fallen in love with this past year is Solo Monk on Columbia CS 9149/CL 2349. Just Monk and piano. It's so uncluttered and has a vibe like you're right in the room with him just hangin' on a sunny afternoon and Monk says to you...hey,let me play you this one. Its playful,warm,and accessible and reminds me of early Leon Redbone for the nearness and good vibes.
     
  24. Isamet

    Isamet Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    Would you know if the OJC Newbury Comics Red vinyl pressing is any good?
     
  25. Bobby Boogaloo

    Bobby Boogaloo Heavy on the grease please

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic USA
    Unfortunately no. I don't have any experience with their LPs. Someone here will know however...
     
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