Thelonious Monk

Riverside Profiles

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After making his first recordings for Blue Note Records in 1947, Thelonious Monk moved on to the Prestige label in the early '50s before moving on again to sign with the then-new Riverside Records in 1955. Working with producer Orrin Keepnews at Riverside, Monk produced some of his finest studio sessions during the next four years, several of which are collected here in this tightly sequenced set, which features some of the best tenor sax players bop had to offer. Coleman Hawkins and John Coltrane are both on the version collected here of "Epistrophy" from 1957. Coltrane also shines on two other Monk recordings from 1957, "Well You Needn't" and the starkly beautiful "Ruby, My Dear." Johnny Griffin's tenor gives "Rhythm-A-Ning" from 1958 a solid push, as does Sonny Rollins on 1956's "Pannonica." Monk's stride-run-through-a-bop-blender piano style is also featured on two solo turns, 1957's "'Round Midnight" and 1959's "Blue Monk." In all, this is a concise introduction to one of Monk's most important periods, but the bonus disc is simply a sampler for other artists in Riverside's Profiles series, which makes this package feel a little bit like an infomercial.

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