Thelonious Monk - Monkism (1954)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 85MB
MONKISM offers a fine array of recordings made by the pianist at a solo session in Paris, 1954. While audiophiles may be disappointed by the sound quality, these tracks will be of interest to Monk neophytes and connoisseurs alike. The material consists of both originals and standards, both rendered without the support of a band and therefore allowing Monk's lovely, oddball compositional style to emerge more prominently alongside his improvisations.
"Off Minor" is stuttering and jagged, abounding with close intervals and informed by a halted sense of phrasing that fills one's mind with all manner of strange visual abstractions. The Kern and Harbach oldie, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," is always fun at Thelonious' fingers. Dreamy chromatic rolls follow the occasional interjection of biting dissonance, expressing both genuine reverie and playful irony. MONKISM makes for a keen looking-glass perspective into Monk's personality. Here we see the blazing futurist and the goofy romantic walking hand in hand.
The music on this 1999 Laserlight CD has been reissued many times. On June 7, 1954, Thelonious Monk (who was ending his period with Prestige and had not yet signed with Riverside) recorded nine piano solos while in Paris, less than 32 minutes of music, which made for a brief LP. Among the numbers are "'Round Midnight," "Evidence," "Off Minor" and the lone non-Monk standard, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." The Laserlight release only has eight of the performances, which makes for a very skimpy CD! When one considers that the original nine numbers are available on a BMG/Vogue disc, along with 13 unrelated solos from pianist Joe Turner, there really is no reason to buy this half-CD despite the quality of the music.
-01. 'Round Midnight [0:05:22.47]
-02. Evidence [0:03:09.53]
-03. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes [0:03:28.20]
-04. Well You Needn't [0:03:28.72]
-05. Reflections [0:05:06.45]
-06. Wee See [0:02:38.42]
-07. Eronel [0:02:35.56]
-08. Off Minor [0:02:34.55]
Recorded in Paris, France on June 7, 1954.
* Thelonious Monk (piano)