Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane

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by Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane
     
 

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Taped at a November 1957 benefit concert by the Voice of America and unearthed only this year, Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall is a major addition to the discographies of two seminal figures in the jazz timeline. The importance is both archival and aesthetic. Comprising two tightly paced, interactive 25-minute sets, At CarnegieSee more details below

Overview

Taped at a November 1957 benefit concert by the Voice of America and unearthed only this year, Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall is a major addition to the discographies of two seminal figures in the jazz timeline. The importance is both archival and aesthetic. Comprising two tightly paced, interactive 25-minute sets, At Carnegie Hall supersedes the previous documents of this legendary group. While the studio recording Thelonious Monk Meets John Coltrane finds Monk and Coltrane still learning each other’s moves, this live recording boasts both efflorescent musicianship and superb sound. How deeply Coltrane drank from Monk’s well in organizing nascent ideas into a concept has never been rendered more clearly; often recorded in this period, Monk provides no new revelations but completely directs the flow, soloing with wit and prodding Coltrane to develop his postulations. The band is in breathe-as-one mode throughout, beginning with “Monk’s Mood,” an extended Monk-Coltrane duo aria. The cohesion is due in great part to drummer Shadow Wilson, a Count Basie alumnus, who offers textbook-clear lessons in pacing and dynamics -- hear him keep a down-the-middle-of-the-pocket beat as he builds the intensity behind Coltrane’s ascendant solo on “Sweet & Lovely” with a dynamic ride cymbal, then stop on a dime and transition to brushes for Monk’s balladic coda. The disc is filled with such magic moments; At Carnegie Hall joins the list of essential, must-hear jazz recordings.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Larry Appelbaum, the recording lab supervisor at the Library of Congress, came across this tape by accident while transferring the library's tape archive to digital. What a find. Forget the Five Spot recording that sounds like it was recorded inside of a tunnel from the far end. The sound here is wonderfully present and contemporary. More importantly, this band -- which also included drummer Shadow Wilson and bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik -- had it right on November 29, 1957, at Carnegie Hall. The John Coltrane on this date is far more assured than he had been four months earlier on the Five Spot date and on the initial Prestige side Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane. He'd been with Monk for four months and had absorbed his complex, multivalent musical system completely. It's clear from the opening track, "Monk's Mood," where the pair play in duet, that Coltrane is confident and moving into his own. Monk feels that confidence with his nearly Baroque entrance on the tune. This is a hard-swinging band with two front-line players who know how to get the best from one another. Coltrane knows the music inside out and his solos reflect an early version of his sheets of sound methodology. Check the joyous "Crepuscule with Nellie" for the hard evidence. Coltrane's cue and Monk's arpeggios are wondrous, swinging, and full of fire and joy. Trane's fills on the melody that leads into his solo are simply revelatory, and the solo itself is brilliant. Or check Wilson's cymbal work on "Nutty" before the band kicks it in full force. Even on the knottiest of Monk's tunes, "Epistrophy," Trane shines and takes charge of his instrument while being utterly receptive to the continual shape-shifting Monk put into his compositions in a live setting. There are nine tunes here (an incomplete version of "Epistrophy" finishes the set) taken from early and late performances. These 51 minutes of music leave the Live at the Five Spot date in the dust. This is one of those "historic" recordings that becomes an instant classic and is one of the truly great finds in jazz lore. It documents a fine band with its members at the peak of their powers together. The package also contains voluminous liner notes by the likes of Ira Gitler, Amiri Baraka, Ashley Khan, Stanley Crouch, and others. This is a must-have.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Calvin Wilson
[Grade: A] A real find.... Coltrane and Monk at their improvisatory best.... [A] don't-miss disc.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/15/2005
Label:
Emi Europe Generic
UPC:
0094633517424
catalogNumber:
335174
Rank:
63006

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Thelonious Monk   Primary Artist,Piano
John Coltrane   Primary Artist,Tenor Saxophone
Shadow Wilson   Drums

Technical Credits

Amiri Baraka   Liner Notes
Stanley Crouch   Liner Notes
Michael Cuscuna   Producer,Audio Production
Ira Gitler   Liner Notes
T.S. Monk   Producer,Audio Production,Photo Courtesy
Bruce Lundvall   Executive Producer
Lewis Porter   Liner Notes
Ashley Kahn   Liner Notes
Burton Yount   Art Direction
Larry Appelbaum   Liner Notes
Robin D.G. Kelley   Liner Notes
Felix Sockwell   Cover Illustration

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