Thelonious Monk - The Columbia Years '62-'68 [3CD] (2001)
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This aptly titled triple-disc compilation examines Thelonious Monk's final years as an active recording artist. The Columbia Years: 1962-1968 is a superior primer for those seeking a thorough overview of this fertile, expressive, and oft-maligned period of Monk's career. In addition to embracing the bright moments from Monk's early- to mid-'60s studio and live releases, compilation producer Orrin Keepnews -- Thelonious' original recording producer during his formidable tenure on the Riverside label -- has included several restored performances and a few previously unissued pieces as well.
The Columbia Years: 1962-1968 is subdivided into "studio" and "live" performances with each musical configuration represented. These include Monk as a soloist, in a trio, a quartet, and in a big-band context. These varied settings further augment Thelonious Monk as not only an instinctual presence on the keyboard, but as a craftsman of timeless melody, harmony, and rhythmic counterpoint. "Think of One," "Blue Monk," and a solo " Don't Blame Me" are among the newly mined treasures exclusive to The Columbia Years: 1962-1968. As one might presume, there are no icon-shattering discoveries among the restorations or debut releases. In their stead is a resurrection of the brilliant sound lost on previous cassette and poorly mastered CD releases. Particularly notable are the live tracks with their tangible electric vibe. "Straight, No Chaser" -- taken from the September 1964 Monterey Jazz Festival -- draws the listener into its confidence with satisfying crispness and warmth.
Likewise, "Evidence" and "Epistrophy" -- taken from the soundtrack of the award-winning documentary film Straight, No Chaser -- no longer sound out of phase. In fact, the contrary would be more accurate. The conclusion of Thelonious Monk's brilliant recording career is lovingly captured on this box set. His inventive wisdom and candid spirit shine through every note.
Thelonious Monk (piano);
Ernie Small, Ernie Small (baritone saxophone);
Conte Candoli (trumpet);
Mike Wimberley , Michael Wimberly, Mike Wimberly, Bob Brookmeyer (trombone);
John Ore, Larry Gales , Steve Swallow , Butch Warren (bass instrument);
Jon Hendricks (vocals);
Howard Roberts (guitar);
Gene Allen (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone);
Phil Woods (clarinet, alto saxophone);
Pee Wee Russell (clarinet);
Buddy Collette (reeds, alto saxophone);
Steve Lacy (soprano saxophone);
Ernie Watts, Gene Cipriano (alto saxophone);
Johnny Griffin, Tom Scott, Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone);
Jack Nimitz (baritone saxophone);
Freddie Hill, Melvin Moore, Ray Copeland , Nick Travis, Bobby Bryant (trumpet);
Thad Jones (cornet);
Eddie Bert, Jimmy Cleveland, Lou Blackburn, Billy Byers (trombone);
John Guerin, Ben Riley, Frankie Dunlop (drums).
It's all a matter of pulling a mind game upon yourself where there's nothing wrong in the whole wide world except the nutter with the mallet and the somewhat extra limited cheese slices disrupting the process from continuing any further. His name is Bruce (the nutter, not the cheese).
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