Thelonious Monk: Nutty




Thelonious Monk (piano)


The Complete Prestige Recordings (Prestige 4428)

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Thelonious Monk (piano), Percy Heath (bass), Art Blakey (drums).

Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: Hackensack, N.J., September 22, 1954


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

     Charles Delaunay and Thelonious Monk, 1954
                   Photo by Marcel Fleiss

The eccentricities of certain artists are essential to their mystique. One such is Thelonious Monk. Despite an unfailingly protective family, the so-called "Mad Monk" had repeated run-ins with psychiatry. During one 30-day hospitalization, he was diagnosed with "unclassified schizophrenia." Evidently Monk's madness, like his music, was too weird to categorize. "Nutty" shows why shrinks threw up their hands when confronted with the peculiar potentate of percussive dissonance. Trying to pigeonhole Monk is as futile as tossing Cracker Jack at your mouth on an upside-down merry-go-round. Here, Art Blakey's drumming shows he understood Monk better than a phalanx of physicians. Suspend analysis, kick back and groove.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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