Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1951 version)


Straight, No Chaser


Thelonious Monk (piano)


Genius of Modern Music, Volume Two (Blue Note 7243 5 32139 2 3)

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Thelonious Monk (piano), Sahib Shihab (alto sax), Milt Jackson (vibes), Al McKibbon (bass), Art Blakey (drums).

Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: New York, July 23, 1951


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

One of Monk’s earliest recordings, made at a time when there were fewer expectations of the eccentric pianist. (The title Genius of Modern Music was bestowed years later, when the collections of singles were compiled into two albums.) Art Blakey introduces the piece in his own way, smacking out a series of rim shots, before Sahib Shihab and Milt Jackson converse in unison. Monk plays his solo in a straight-ahead manner – his angularity would intensify a decade later – and then Shihab and Jackson take short, impressive solos. It’s a classic piece of bop. Still, to be fair, the entirety of the two volumes of Genius of Modern Music is a must-have for any Monk fan.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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