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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

Thelonious Monk


Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120588



  1. Thelonious
  2. ‘Round About Midnight
  3. Suburban Eyes
  4. In Walked Bud
  5. Monk’s Mood
  6. Who Knows
  7. Ruby My Dear
  8. Humph
  9. On the "Bean"
  10. Flyin’ Hawk
  11. Well You Needn’t
  12. Evidence
  13. I Should Care
  14. I Mean You
  15. All the Things You Are
  16. Epistrophy
  17. Mysterioso
  18. Evonce

This record covers five sessions; Thelonius Monk plays Piano on all.

19 October 1944

Coleman Hawkins – Tenor, Denzil Best – Drums, Edward Robinson - Bass

15 October 1947

Idrees Sulieman – Trumpet, Danny Quebec West – Alto, Billy Smith – Tenor, Gene Ramey – Bass, Art Blakey – Drums

24 October 1947

Ramey – Bass, Blakey – Drums

21 November 1947

Sahib Shihab - Alto, George Taitt – Trumpet, Robert Paige – Bass, Art Blakey – Drums

2 July 1948

Milt Jackson – Vibes, John Simmons – Bass, Shadow Wilson – Drums Kenny Hagood – Vocals.


Thelonious Monk was and remains an enigmatic figure in jazz, when I first heard his playing I did not like it at all. When I had been playing the Saxophone for some years, I started to appreciate the unique style of Monk’s compositions and through that a liking for his quirky piano style blossomed. If you want to understand what Monk was about, you need to be patient with yourself, whilst your mind gets used to it. For me he was at his best in the Quartet he led with the legendary Charlie Rouse

on Tenor. These records, which were made in the 1940’s, have been processed for noise reduction and the music has been made easier to listen to because of it. This is a good collection to start to know Monk from. ‘Round About Midnight is still often heard, but In Walked Bud, Well You Needn’t and I Mean You are all essential numbers for the aspiring jazzman. Less well known is Evonce, but I am already looking through the ‘fake’ books to try to find it!

The Coleman Hawkins Tracks come from records originally accredited to ‘Bean’ and they contain some good examples of his playing, there is also some good vibes playing from the then young Milt Jackson. Art Blakey is on drums on many of the tracks, but he sounds little like the Blakey we know from the more recent Jazz Messengers, although he still makes things swing.

I think this album which is on the low cost Naxos label is an interesting record of the earlier work of one of Modern Jazz’s great characters, pianists and composers.


Don Mather

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