Thelonious Monk

The Complete London Collection

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This attractive box houses three previously released Black Lion CDs recorded at pianist/composer Thelonious Monk's final sessions as a leader; only a few dates with the Giants of Jazz were left in the future for Monk, who would soon retire altogether. Heard in unaccompanied piano solos and in a trio with bassist Al McKibbon and drummer Art Blakey, Monk is in surprisingly exuberant form, still very much at the peak of his powers. Although most of this music was last available in a "complete" Mosaic LP box set, there are actually three additional alternate takes included in the very enjoyable and somewhat definitive set. Highlights include "Little Rootie Tootie," "Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland," "Blue Sphere," "Criss Cross," "The Man I Love" and "Evidence," but all 29 selections are well worth hearing. This is essential music for all serious Thelonious Monk collections; the solo performances in particular are quite memorable.

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