everybodydigs# is a series of posts about Jazz, Funk, Soul & R’n’b albums released from the 20s to the 90s, you can read a brief description/review and listen to a small preview (when it’s possible). everybodydigs# is like when someone tells you “hey you should listen to this album!” and nothing less, enjoy!
Although this album marks Thelonious Monk’s sole recording as a member of Art Blakey’s celebrated Jazz Messengers, the pianist and drummer were very close friends who understood each other well on both a personal and musical level. In fact, Blakey was present on both Monk’s first and last studio sessions, spanning a period of 24 years from the 1947 quintet and trio recordings to the last sets taped in London in 1971, when Blakey and Monk were touring with the group called the “Giants of Jazz” (which also included Sonny Stitt, Dizzy Gillespie, Kai Winding and Al McKibbon). In fact, all of these recordings (the 1947 sessions debuting the very personal musical conception of Thelonious Monk, this amazing 1957 session with the Messengers made during the zenith of Monk’s career and the 1971 London session) are true masterpieces in their own right. Art Blakey’s presence on all of these recordings was not purely accidental as he and Monk shared a common artistic feeling. Blakey never made a secret of his admiration for Monk both as a pianist and as a composer. With the exception of Johnny Griffin’s “Purple Shades”, all of the compositions on this album are classic Thelonious Monk tunes. “I always record some of my songs over again”, explained Monk during a 1965 interview with Les Tomkins, “but it’s not going to be the same because I don’t think of playing it the same way as I thought of playing it before. And then it might be with a different instrumentation. Like, some things I might play with the tenor now had alto before. I have to think differently of voicing the tenor, so that automatically eliminates the alto sound. That’s why I think there’s no harm in doing things over- because these songs are supposed to live.” The addition of the trumpet here is a departure from Monk’s typical classic quartet format, and all of the musicians featured here are different as well, making this music sound completely fresh.
Rappamelo’s favorite track.