Thelonious Monk: 'Round Midnight (1957 solo version)


'Round Midnight


Thelonious Monk (piano)


Thelonious Himself (Riverside OJCCD-254)

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Thelonious Monk (piano).

Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: New York, April 1957


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

        Thelonious Monk at Salle Pleyel (1954)
                Photo by Marcel Fleiss

To truly appreciate Monk's most famous and most revered composition, "'Round Midnight," one must hear one of his solo recordings of it. This one is painfully beautiful, as Monk plays it softly and without a lot of fancy tricks or spiked notes. The CD Thelonious Himself includes one heck of a bonus track, too: 22 minutes of Monk working on the tune, trying to find the right groove and exploring its nooks and crannies. Another (better-recorded) version of the tune came 11 years later and can be found on the two-CD Sony release Monk Alone. It's a totally different beast. Less introspective and more powerful, Monk jabs the keys with a vengeance, as though telling the listener in no uncertain terms that this four-minute gem is an important piece of music.

Reviewer: Steve Greenlee

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