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It's Monk's Time

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All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
Although often unrightfully maligned by self-proclaimed "purists," Thelonious Monk did some brilliant work during his early- to mid-'60s stint for Columbia Records. It's Monk's Time 1964 contains some of the best -- if not arguably the best -- studio sides that the pianist cut during his final years as a recording musician. The album's title turned out to be somewhat prophetic, as Time magazine featured Monk as the cover subject for its February 28, 1964, edition. Interestingly, he was to have been profiled by the periodical the previous November; however, the assassination of then-President John F. Kennedy took obvious precedence. It had been almost a full year since ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Lindsay Planer
Although often unrightfully maligned by self-proclaimed "purists," Thelonious Monk did some brilliant work during his early- to mid-'60s stint for Columbia Records. It's Monk's Time 1964 contains some of the best -- if not arguably the best -- studio sides that the pianist cut during his final years as a recording musician. The album's title turned out to be somewhat prophetic, as Time magazine featured Monk as the cover subject for its February 28, 1964, edition. Interestingly, he was to have been profiled by the periodical the previous November; however, the assassination of then-President John F. Kennedy took obvious precedence. It had been almost a full year since his previous studio release, Criss-Cross 1963, and there had been a significant alteration in the rhythm section, which now incorporated the respective talents of both Butch Warren bass and Ben Riley drums as well as longtime cohort Charlie Rouse tenor sax. From four sessions in early 1964, It's Monk's Time gathers four quartet and two solo sides, presenting the pinnacle of what these musicians offered stylistically as well as from the standpoint of presentation. There is sense of mischievous playfulness in Monk's nimble keyboard work, especially notable on the beautifully off-kilter unaccompanied opening to "Lulu's Back in Town," and the same practically impish quality also drives the solo performance on "Nice Work if You Can Get It." Both pop standards are prime examples of the bop pioneer's inimitable approach to arranging, and also provide an uncanny insight to his influences. Immediately evident are the styles of stride legends from the well-known Willie "The Lion" Smith and James P. Johnson to the slightly more obscure and decidedly frenetic playing of Cliff Jackson, as well as the ragtime approach of Walter L. Rose. The results are bound together in Monk's arithmetically advanced delivery and harmonic composition. The combo -- especially Rouse -- effectively supports and punctuates the tricky timing of "Stuffy Turkey" and the more aggressive bop of "Brake's Sake." The latter title also unleashes some tasty interaction between Monk and Rouse, sonically exemplifying their practically single-minded synergy. The concluding cut, "Shuffle Boil," is one of the lost gems of the artist's later work. It sports an effortless swing over a sophisticated and challenging melodic structure. Bassist Warren steps up to the plate, providing a supple and pulsating bed for both Monk and Rouse as they trade solos. [In 2003, Legacy issued an expanded edition of It's Monk's Time with a trio of bonus tracks, two of which were previously unavailable.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/1/2008
  • Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
  • UPC: 886972482521
  • Catalog Number: 724825

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Thelonious Monk Primary Artist, Piano
Charlie Rouse Tenor Saxophone
Butch Warren Bass
Ben Riley Drums
Technical Credits
Teo Macero Producer
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    great monk cd

    Monk puts the standards in his own style and makes them even better. The 3 Monk originals on this cd are really good listening too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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