Thelonious Monk: Blue Monk (1964 live version)


Blue Monk


Thelonious Monk (piano)


Live at the It Club – Complete (Columbia/Legacy C2K 65288)

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Thelonious Monk (piano), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), Larry Gales (bass), Ben Riley (drums).

Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: Los Angeles, October 31, 1964


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Ask me, and I’ll tell you Live at the It Club is Monk’s best record. The latest two-disc version restores virtually everything recorded over two nights at the L.A. spot, and I dare anyone to find a 15-second stretch that doesn’t inspire. Naming just one highlight is an impossible task, so why not start at the beginning, with an 11-minute take of “Blue Monk,” which happens to be one of my favorite pieces to play on my own piano. Monk’s oeuvre is so small that he recorded a handful of compositions over and over, and yet he still found new things to say each time through. Here his explorations are deep and wide, and he brings out the best in his bandmates, which is the most we can ask of any leader.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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