Thelonious Monk Live

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Spotmaticfanatic, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Spotmaticfanatic

    Spotmaticfanatic Lost my shape, trying to act casual. Thread Starter

    Ottawa, Canada
    I've been listening to Thelonious In Action, and enjoy it, but ocassionally feel like it lacks a little something. Anyone here have any recommendations for albums to seek out? There seems to be a lot of like Thelonious Monk albums with somewhat similar track listings, but obviously some performances are going to be better than others, right?
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  2. Thelonious Alone in San Francisco. Solo piano.

    There are apparently two other solo piano records by Monk. I haven't heard either one, but Thelonious Himself got some really good reviews.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  3. Archtop

    Archtop Soft Dead Crimson Cow

    I'm a bit surprised to read that Thelonious in Action falls a bit flat for you. With that in mind, you'll likely feel the same way about Misterioso, as it's from the same quartet/venue. The first other option that comes to mind is Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall. Another is Thelonious Monk Quartet Plus Two at the Blackhawk. Other options with larger band material include The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall and Monk Big Band and Quartet in Concert, with the former on Riverside and the latter on Columbia Jazz Masterpieces.
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  4. Spotmaticfanatic

    Spotmaticfanatic Lost my shape, trying to act casual. Thread Starter

    Ottawa, Canada
    Oh, it isn't to say that I don't enjoy it. Perhaps I ovedrstated it. I think there's just one or two moments that I don't enjoy as much as the rest of the album. I also find the bass just a bit quiet in the mix.
  5. Archtop

    Archtop Soft Dead Crimson Cow

    I think that Ahmed Abdul-Malik was a good bass player for Monk's material, as he's rock solid but not at all flashy. For whatever reason (this is just my observation from a modest sample size) his bass sound never seemed to project the way Chambers', Mingus' or Ray Brown's sound did. So, it could be part recording/mix and/or just the way his axe resonated.
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  6. Hershiser

    Hershiser Forum Resident

    May I recommend from the Columbia era - At the It Club. The 4lp set from Mosiac is wonderful to me. I really like Monk with Charlie Rouse.
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  7. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident

    Mt. Kisco, NY
    Monk/Coltrane live at Carnegie Hall

  8. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Hmm, I think the quintessential live Monk albums are the 5 Spot albums with Johnny Griffin -- Thelonious in Action and Misterioso, but if you don't like 'em, you don't like 'em.

    The live album from Carnegie Hall with Coltrane is great -- the best sounding live document of Coltrane's short but pivotal stint with Monk, and it captures Monk playing on maybe the best tuned and regulated piano he got to record on in the entire decade of the '50s. It's got a distant concert hall sound, which I don't love as much as a close, nightclub sound, for a small jazz combo, but, hey, its Monk and Trane.

    From the '60s my favorite is Live at the It Club.
  9. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Alone in San Francisco is one of my all-time favorite Monk albums, and the audio quality is stellar. But it's not a live album. It was recorded at Fugazi Hall in San Francisco, but not in front of an audience.
  10. I just read that in Wiki earlier today, after I posted. Heh, that explains the suspiciously clean sound of the record.

    It got me thinking that maybe any untweaked, unedited (presumably there are no edits on TAiSF) solo recording counts as a "live performance."

    I've certainly heard enough audience chatter on live jazz recordings that I understand the rationale for using the ambience of a concert hall as a recording space for an unamplified solo performance, minus the aural distractions typically added by a crowd.
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  11. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
  12. frightwigwam

    frightwigwam Talented Amateur

    Monk in Tokyo is my favorite of his '60s live recordings.

    Here is a broadcast video from the tour, dated 5/23/63, two days after the concert issued by CBS/Sony.

  13. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    My fav live Monk is Big Band and Quartet (on CD for the extra tunes, unediting): it has great arrangements from Hal Overton, Frankie Dunlap keeping things crisp, strong performances from all involved, and an unusual hit-free set list. Live @ the It Club is a good rep of the working band and a typical set list.
  14. TFEC

    TFEC Opinion Holder

    +1 for Big Band and Quartet Live!

    One of my favorite live recordings of all time.
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  15. Great album.
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  16. G L Tirebiter

    G L Tirebiter Forum Resident

    east of Pittsburgh
    Monk with big band and quartet is especially nice on vinyl. I found a copy for a dollar a few years back.

    Life is good!
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  17. tug_of_war

    tug_of_war Sassafras & Moonshine

    Thelonious Monk live at Town Hall
    Recorded live with a big band in 1959.
    I love it to bits.
  18. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    Watch "Straight No Chaser" and get the album (the live one, and also the studio one if you don't have it!)
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  19. tug_of_war

    tug_of_war Sassafras & Moonshine

    But if you want to hear a small combo taking risks and eventually getting lost on the music on a couple of numbers but otherwise playing with passion enough to deliver some small musical miracles, Live At The Jazz Workshop is what you need. Look no further.
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  20. danasgoodstuff

    danasgoodstuff Forum Resident

    Portland, OR
    Also nice about BB & Q is that it's him cresting, it's between when he was supposed to be on the cover of Time and when in fact he was - he's at a popular and critical peak after years of scuffling.
  21. ausgraeme

    ausgraeme Forum Resident

    His "new" one , released by Gearbox records is very good. Cleaned up master tapes rescued from a skip bin by a DJ looking for old jazz to sample.
  22. Spotmaticfanatic

    Spotmaticfanatic Lost my shape, trying to act casual. Thread Starter

    Ottawa, Canada
    I’ll have to check it out. I just finished a biography of Monk, where the author describes the It Club gigs as a debacle, and was surprised Columbia released them. One man’s garbage is another man’s gold, I guess...
  23. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Well, I'm not connoisseur of '60s Monk, I'm one of those guys who think Monk's own playing kind of fell off in the decade and I don't turn to Monk of the period too much, but I do sometimes return to the It Club recordings and, though not a live album, Underground. But I think the It Club performances swing. Still, for live Monk, I wouldn't take them over the 5 Spot recordings or the Coltrane Carnegie Hall recording. Maybe someone else has a different preference for live '60s Monk.
  24. Spotmaticfanatic

    Spotmaticfanatic Lost my shape, trying to act casual. Thread Starter

    Ottawa, Canada
    Still trying to decide what to think of Underground. Intriguing on the one ya d, due to there being new tunes. However, my first impression is that it’s a little sluggish. Also not enamoured with the version of In Walked Bud on it, either. Outside of Brilliant Corners, i’m enjoying the Prestige box set, and funnily enough, Monk’s Dream. It’s not new territory, but it swings, and some of the reworks of the Prestige recordings are interesting.
    NorthNY Mark likes this.

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