The tapes from this 1957 Voice of America recording at Carnegie Hall were discovered only in 2005, and they contain the most dynamic meeting between Monk and John Coltrane. In fact, once Blue Note put out the album later that year, it immediately ranked among Monk’s most important and most impressive works. “Crepuscule With Nellie,” a gorgeous melody for the pianist’s wife, is given a patient, expressive reading. Monk spends the first two minutes carving out the theme alone, and the rest of the band joins in for the next round. It’s Coltrane’s turn to play the melody straight while Monk adds a few flourishes around the edges. After 4½ minutes it’s over, and there’s more proof to the old adage that less is more.
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