Thelonious Monk: Brilliant Corners (1956 version)


Brilliant Corners


Thelonious Monk (piano)


Brilliant Corners (Riverside OJCCD-026-2)

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Thelonious Monk (piano), Sonny Rollins (tenor sax), Ernie Henry (alto sax), Oscar Pettiford (bass), Max Roach (drums).

Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: New York, October 15, 1956


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

“Brilliant Corners” is the most complex work in the 70-song Monk canon. It speeds up, it slows down, it shifts course abruptly – the musicians must have strained a few muscles trying to keep up with what was going on in Monk’s head. The rhythmic construction was so challenging that it took the band members 25 takes to get what they needed – and even then they never recorded it to Monk’s satisfaction. What we hear on the album is a patchwork spliced together from the various takes. It’s a gorgeously flawed work – while it may have been difficult to create, it is easy to listen to.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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