Friday, January 16, 2009
Recorded at: Reeves Sound Studios, New York, New York in 1957 and 1958.
Release Date: 1992
Engineer: Kirk Felton
When Monk finally got his cabaret card back in the summer of 1957, he began a six-month engagement on the lower east
side of Manhattan. This stand heralded his return, thrilled the media and garnered him a modicum of respect and recognition. Recorded the following spring, THELONIOUS MONK WITH JOHN COLTRANE is an all-too fleeting recreation of the pianist's legendary Five Spot Quartet (plus a solo piano version of "Functional," and a powerful four-horn rendition of "Off Minor" from a June '57 session featuring Coltrane, Coleman Hawkins and Art Blakey). In many ways, Coltrane's stint with Monk marked his artistic breakthrough from a gifted technician, to a top musical innovator. Joining him in this remarkable quartet were Shadow Wilson, a drummer of rare musicality and restraint (listen to his sweeping brushwork on "Ruby, My Dear", and Chicago bassist Wilbur Ware, whose lower register punctuations and sophisticated harmonic sensibility helped anchor the group. "Ruby, My Dear" is landmark for Coltrane the ballad player.
Monk's repeated chordal figures function as a thematic entity, and Trane feels compelled to dig deeper into the melody, rather than simply gallop through the changes--his lyric ardor is compelling. Monk treats the melody with even greater restraint, saving his most rhapsodic flourishes for the tune's coda.
"Trinkle, Tinkle" is a jittery Monk masterpiece that quickly separates the men from the boys. It features a rhythmically complex six-bar theme, with a tricky two-bar turnaround for the drummer, and a complex inversion of the theme in the bridge. The saxophonist's opening figures echo Monk's complex trills and runs, as the pianist reprises the theme during the first chorus, then Trane is off to the races in a sneak preview of the'60s, concluding with a bluesy flourish. Then there's "Nutty," with its sardonic bass asides--one of Monk's most engaging blues themes. Even when Monk drops away, the specter of his lines and chords inspire Trane's rapid-fire arpeggios, and Monk's solo is a witty chordal abstraction of the theme, shot through with unexpected accents and rhythmic hesitations.
Thelonious Monk: piano
John Coltrane: tenor saxophone
Gigi Gryce: alto saxophone
Coleman Hawkins: tenor saxophone
Ray Copeland: trumpet
Wilbur Ware: bass
Shadow Wilson & Art Blakey: drums
Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane
Genre : Hard Bop, Jazz
A1 Ruby, My Dear 6:21
A2 Trinkle, Tinkle 6:40
A3 Off Minor (take 4) 5:15
B1 Nutty 6:39
B2 Epistrophy (alternate take) 3:09
B3 Functional (alternate take) 9:43
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