Consilience Productions
CD Picks

Thelonious Monk
(b. 10/10/17 - Rocky Mount, NC    d. 2/17/82 - Weehawken, NJ)

Title: Live At The Blackhawk
Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano), Joe Gordon (trumpet), Charlie Rouse, Harold Land (tenor sax), John Ore (bass), Billy Higgins (drums).
Recorded: 1960
Label: Riverside
Comments: Thelonious "Sphere" Monk - probably the most original of all the jazz luminaries. One of the originators of be-bop (along with Bird and Diz and Bud Powell), Monk's music is so completely original that other musicians don't even attempt to sound like him. To do so just sounds dumb, as the only pianist that could pull off his ideas is Monk himself. Even the great pianist, Barry Harris, talks about how most other pianists sounded like others that came before them (i.e. influenced by Bud Powell, for instance), except for Monk, who basically appeared from outer space! Although his influences can be traced back to the stride pianists of the 1930's, his music is so strong structurally that it survives in many other music genres, most notably Latin music. There is an essential "funkiness" to his lines and chord structures that lend themselves to modern day funk grooves. The timelessness of his music is just incredible.
Title: Criss-Cross
Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano), Charlie Rouse (tenor sax), John Ore (bass), Frankie Dunlop (drums).
Recorded: 1963
Label: Columbia
Comments: Around the time that this album was released, Monk's notoriety was just beginning to take hold, as he appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. Although his fellow musicians looked up to him as one of the fathers of be-bop, the general public had forgotten about him. But in the early to late 60's, Monk's fame grew, not only as people came to appreciate his understated genius, but also because he suffered somewhat from mental disorders. For instance, after he would play his solo, he would often get up and dance in a little circle by himself as the rest of the band played on. Certainly eccentric, Monk nonetheless continued to perform into the 70's, until his illness overcame him and he just stopped playing altogether.
Title: Live At The Five Spot - Discovery! (Live)
Personnel: Thelonious Monk (piano), John Coltrane (tenor sax), Ahmed Abdul-Malik (bass), Roy Haynes (drums).
Recorded: 1957
Label: Blue Note
Comments: This CD is important as it documents John Coltrane's short stint in his band. Coltrane talks about his sixth months or so with Monk in very fond terms, as Monk taught him a great deal about music just by being on the bandstand with him every night. Also, check out Roy Haynes' playing on this CD - snap, crackle, pop!

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