Thelonious Monk was only with Prestige from 1952-1954, which explains why Fantasy's The Complete Prestige Recordings contains only three CDs. But Monk's Prestige output is noteworthy and generally rewarding, if imperfect at times. Not everything on The Complete Prestige Recordings is essential, but for the serious Monk collector, its rewards are great. The set gets off to an interesting start with four 1944 recordings from a Coleman Hawkins session. The material originally came out on the small Joe Davis label, but these performances are historically important because they marked the first time Monk was recorded as a sideman, and the first time that Prestige founder Bob Weinstock was exposed to Monk. The set then fast forwards to Monk's Prestige period, when he led various trios and quintets and was employed as a sideman by Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis. All of disc three is devoted to 1954's historic Davis/Monk encounter; unfortunately, Davis and Monk's egos clashed, but that didn't prevent them from delivering memorable performances. The Complete Prestige Recordings isn't for casual listeners, but it has a lot more ups than downs, and is enthusiastically recommended to serious jazz collectors.