Live at the It Club

Thelonious Monk

SKU: MPLP3001180G

Barcode: amos3001

120.00 £120.00
  • Genre: Jazz
  • Label: Mosaic
  • Released Date: 9th May 2014
  • Buying Format:
    4LP Box Set
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Just Another Night Indeed!

The Thelonious Monk Quartet with Charlie Rouse lasted eleven years. October 31 and November 1, 1964 at the It Club in Los Angeles were just two more nights out of thousands for them, except when it comes to Monk, there were no ordinary nights.

Rouse in his sixth year with Monk had hit his stride, truly becoming Monk’s musical alter ego. Remarkably, drummer Ben Riley had joined the quartet at the beginning of 1964 and bassist Larry Gales had only logged in a month at the time of this taping; yet they already show the first signs of collective greatness on these evenings.

The band plays standards, many of Monk’s famous tunes, a few lesser known items like “Gallop’s Gallop” and “Blues Five Spot” and the recent compositions “Teo” and “Bright Mississippi.” Propelled by Gales and Riley, Monk and Rouse deliver amazing ten-minute excursions on such Monk classics as “Nutty,” “Rhythm-a-ning,” and “Blue Monk.”

Monk was at a particular high point pianistically during this gig; in fact, he went into a Los Angeles studio and recorded the album Solo Monk on the afternoons preceding and following the live taping. He is in full force throughout, but his playing is particularly superb on the standards “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You” and the previously unreleased “Sweet And Lovely.”.

Mosaic has returned to the original three-track tapes and mixed them down to beautiful sounding analog stereo masters, presenting the six sets they played that night as they happened.

More than 91 years after his birth, and over a quarter century since his passing, evidence that the once supremely iconoclastic Thelonious Monk may have been as central as anyone to the immortal music of both his country and his time continues to mount. In 1998, when the present music was initially released on compact disc, the memory of Monk’s visage on a (then 32-cent) first class postage stamp from two years earlier still lingered; a decade later, the posthumous award of a Pulitzer Prize in music was far less shocking. Monk’s time – as composer, bandleader and (perhaps most surprising of all) pianist – has indeed come, and shows no sign of passing.

y With performance opportunities increasing, and the wider dissemination of his music that followed his signing with Columbia Records in 1962, Monk found himself able to mold an ensemble that could deliver the lean, infectious, inquisitive readings his compositions invited. Over the course of 1964, he seized that opportunity by assembling what would become his most venerable unit, the quartet that would take his message across America and around the world several times in the latter part of the decade. Charlie Rouse, at the midpoint in his 11 years of service with Monk, was hitting his stride, while Ben Riley and Larry Gales were more recent additions to Monk’s universe. It was during the It Club gig documented here that these four individuals showed the first signs of collective greatness. – Bob Blumenthal, liner notes

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