Thelonious Monk: 'Round Midnight (1947)


'Round Midnight


Thelonious Monk (piano)


The Complete Blue Note Recordings (Blue Note 30363)

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Thelonious Monk (piano), Sahib Shihab (alto sax), Art Blakey (drums),

Bob Paige (bass)


Composed by Thelonious Monk


Recorded: New York, November 21, 1947


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Monk's initial cover of his best-known song came three years after Cootie Williams first recorded it with majestic trumpeting amid a big band and with nary a hint of bebop. Yet as Monk shows, a small group better befits "'Round Midnight." Using trumpet and sax to help establish haunting atmospherics, Monk carries the melody by himself (except for a 5-note phrase strikingly harmonized between piano and alto) and is the sole soloist. Listeners sometimes mistake Monk's deliberate fractures—by 1947 fully developed both instrumentally and compositionally—as mistakes or hesitation; they are neither. They're the probings of a visionary sculptor radically reshaping modern jazz.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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