Thelonious Monk

'Round Midnight

Composed by Thelonious Monk

Song Review by

This track [AKA “‘Round ‘Bout Midnight”] is among Thelonious Monk’s best known works and likewise has become a highly revered and time honoured jazz standard. The composition is a key entry in Monk’s original repertoire, establishing itself relatively early on the Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 (1948) -- his first sides as a bandleader. He would likewise continue to perform the song -- both as a solo and in the context of a combo -- for the remainder of his career. This has yielded literally scores of available interpretations by the artist. “‘Round Midnight”’s lilting melody is steeped in a noir melancholia that can be traced through other early Monk ballads -- such as “Pannonica” and “Crepuscule With Nellie”. Rather than clutter up the arrangement with drastically off-kilter chord progressions, the actual tune is structurally open to a wide variety of interpretations. All of Monk’s takes feature variations on his trademark drop-dead sense of timing and dramatic piano inflections. The 20+ minute rehearsal recording -- included as a bonus on the CD reissue of Thelonious Himself (1958) -- reveal “‘Round Midnight”’s layers of complexity as Monk attempts several novel approaches to the arrangement. There are hundreds of cover versions of the song in practically every musical genre. Among the most disparate are renderings by Canadian blues combo Big Sugar -- on their self-titled 1992 debut -- as well as famed cinematic writer, arranger and conductor Henry Mancini, whose haunting rendition is available on Mancini ‘67.

“‘Round Midnight” is one of the few Monk compositions to also have accompanying lyrics, courtesy of Bernie Hanigen. A plethora of pop and jazz artists have interpreted it -- ranging from first ladies of jazz Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald to an all-star ensemble led by vocalist Bobby McFerrin for the title track of the 1986 film starring Dexter Gordon.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 1952 Blue Note 3:09
Monk 1954 GNP/Crescendo
Thelonious Himself 1957 Fantasy 6:44
No Image 1961 Thelonious
Live at the It Club 1964 Sony Music Distribution 6:32
No Image 1964 Sony Music Distribution 6:27
Monk's Blues 1968 Legacy / Columbia 4:13
Greatest Hits 1969 Legacy
No Image 1971 Mosaic 5:14
No Image 1977 Blue Note
I Like Jazz: The Essence of Thelonious Monk 1985 Columbia 3:48
The Complete Riverside Recordings 1986 Riverside 6:42
The Composer 1988 Columbia 3:48
Smithsonian Collection of Jazz Piano, Vol. 3 1989
Various Artists
Smithsonian Records 6:39
The Best of the Blue Note Years 1991 Blue Note 3:09
Blue Note 50th Anniversary Collection, Vol. 1 - 1939-1956 - from Boogie to Bop 1991
Various Artists
Blue Note 3:08
No Image 1991 Sony BMG 3:50
Round Midnight and Other Jazz Classics 1992 EMI-Capitol Special Markets 3:13
Solo 1954 1993 Vogue
American Composer 1993 Umbrella Music DVD
The Complete Blue Note Recordings 1994 Blue Note 3:09
Disques Vogue in Paris Highlights 1995
Various Artists
Vogue / RCA 5:12
Jazz Essentials [EMI Special Markets] 1995
Various Artists
CEMA Special Markets 3:11
Jazz Moods, Vol. 4 1995
Various Artists
Jazz World 7:03
Devil in a Blue Dress [Sony] 1995
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution 3:10
Jazz Ballads [Allegiance] 1996
Various Artists
Allegiance Records 7:01
This Is Jazz, Vol. 5 1996 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 3:49
A Jazz Hour Special 1996
Various Artists
Jazz Hour 7:01
Piano Solo 1996 RCA Victor / Vogue 5:16
A Handful of Keys 1997
Various Artists
Ideal 3:12
Jazz Piano Anthology: Bop 1997
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 5:21
Jazz Piano Anthology [Box Set] 1997
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 7:59
Jazz Profile 1998 Blue Note 3:12
The Art of the Ballad 1998 Concord / Prestige / Universal 6:41
Monk Alone: The Complete Columbia Solo Studio Recordings: 1962-1968 1998 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 3:48
Monkism 1998 Laserlight / Delta Distribution 5:22
The Blue Note Years 1939-1999 1998
Various Artists
Blue Note 3:09
Composer: 'Round Midnight 1998 Giants Of Jazz Recordings 3:08
Jazz Archives: Monk 1999 Century Vista 5:16
Original Sounds of New York City 1999
Various Artists
Golden Sounds 3:13
The Blue Note Years, Vol. 1: Boogie Woogie Blues & Bop 1999
Various Artists
Blue Note 3:11
Jazz on Cinema 1999
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:11
The Night Is Blue 1999
Various Artists
Bmg Camden 5:16
Jazz Ballads [Jazz World] 1999
Various Artists
Jazz World 7:03
1944-1948 1999 Jazz Archives (France) 3:09
Great Jazz Ballads 1999
Various Artists
Goldies 7:01
Reflections 1999 Intercontinental Records 5:12
Columbia Jazz: The Best of the 50's and 60's 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:51
Les Incontournables 2000 WEA International 6:19
Round Midnight [Prism] 2000 Prism Leisure Corporation (UK) / Prism Platinum 3:09
Giants of Jazz Sampler 2000
Various Artists
Giants Of Jazz Recordings 3:13
1947-1948 2000 Classics 3:12
The Riverside Tenor Sessions 2000 APO (Analogue Production Originals) 12:08
The  Jazz Lounge [ZYX] 2000
Various Artists
Music & Melody / ZYX 8:27
Now Jazz Best Millennium 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Ken Burns Jazz 2000 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 3:51
'Round Midnight [Definitive Classics] 2000 Definitive
Very Best of Jazz [Disky Single Disc] 2000
Various Artists
Riffin' 2001 Collectables 3:52
The Columbia Years: '62-'68 2001 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 3:51
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:52
That's Jazz [Golden Stars] 2001
Various Artists
Golden Stars
Monk's Mood [Arpeggio] 2001 Arpeggio Blues 3:11
The Smooth Jazz Piano: Ebony & Ivory 2001
Various Artists
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Legacy / Columbia 3:51
The Blue Box Blue Note's Best 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:13
'Round Midnight [Past Perfect] 2002 Past Perfect 3:11
1962-1968 2003 MSI Music Distribution / Sony Music Distribution 3:51
The Essential [EMI] 2003 Blue Note / EMI Music Distribution 3:11
The Essential Thelonious Monk [2003] 2003 Legacy / Columbia 3:51
Playboy Jazz After Dark 2003
Various Artists
Playboy Jazz 6:39
Just Jazz: Late Night Jazz 2003
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:10
No Image 2003 Blue Note / EMI Digital 3:08
Monk Plays Thelonious 2004 Universal Distribution / Saga Jazz 3:12
Story of Jazz 2004 EMI Music Distribution 3:11
Monk's Mood/Well You Needn't 2004 Membran 3:11
Capital Gold Jazz Legends 2004
Various Artists
Virgin 3:12
Jazz Moods: 'Round Midnight 2004 Columbia
Introspection: The Complete '47-'52 Blue Note Sessions 2004 Birdland 3:11
The Best of Thelonious Monk 2004 Decca / Universal Music 6:41
Jazz E Bossa, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
The Very Best 2005 Blue Note 3:12
This Is Jazz [Prism] 2005
Various Artists
Prism Leisure Corporation (UK) / Prism Platinum
The Best of Just Jazz 2005
Various Artists
Just Jazz 3:13
The Best of Thelonious Monk: Round Midnight 2005 Jazz Forever 3:13
Ruby My Dear 2006 Original Jazz Standards 3:09
Perk-O-Lations Jazz 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:10
No Image 2006 Nocturne Records / BD Jazz 3:11
Perfect Background Party Music 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:11
Round Midnight [Collectables] 2006 Collectables 3:13
Best Jazz 100 2006
Various Artists
Blue Note 3:12
Complete Genius of Modern Music 2006 BMG 3:12
Riverside Profiles 2006 Universal 6:43
Jazz Icons: Live in '66 2006 TDK
Ultimate Jazz [JVC Japan] 2007
Various Artists
JVC Compact Discs
Wallet Box 2007 Document 3:10
'Round Midnight [Edel] 2007 Edel Records 5:16
Perfect 2007 Kingsroad 3:10
Finest in Jazz 2007 Blue Note 3:11
Legends of Jazz [2007] 2007
Various Artists
Bayberry Records 3:11
History of Jazz: From Basin Street to Bebop 2007
Various Artists
Primo Records 3:13
Pure Jazz [EMI] 2007
Various Artists
Parlophone 3:11
Best Blue Note RVG Collection 100 2008
Various Artists
Toshiba EMI 1:37
Live at Newport 1958-59 2008 Disconforme / Gambit / Gambit Records 4:33
NHK Bi No Tsubo with Blue Note 2008
Various Artists
Toshiba EMI 3:12
The Very Best of Jazz 2008 Universal Music 6:40
Jazz! 2009
Various Artists
Music & Melody / ZYX 8:27
Jazz Six Pack 2009 Original Jazz Classics 6:41
The Complete Jazz Collection 2009
Various Artists
Horizon 3:49
The Definitive Thelonious Monk on Prestige and Riverside 2010 Riverside Records 6:42
Playlist: The Very Best of Thelonious Monk 2010 Masterworks / Masterworks Jazz / Playlist 3:50
Jazz FM Presents: The Legends of Blue Note 2011
Various Artists
Blue Note / EMI 3:10
The  Riverside Anthology 2011 Not Now Music 8:30
Pure... Jazz 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment 3:49
Amy's Jukebox: The Music That Inspired Amy Winehouse 2011
Various Artists
Chrome Dreams 3:11
The Very Best of Thelonious Monk 2012 Concord Jazz / Riverside 6:45
Greatest Hits of the 1940s 2012
Various Artists
AAO Music / United Audio Entertainment 2:37
Icon 2: The Best of Blue Note 2014
Various Artists
Blue Note 3:11
Three Classic Albums Plus 2014 Avid Jazz
Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 1 [Blue Note] 2014 Blue Note 3:09
'Round Midnight: The Complete Blue Note Singles (1947-1952) 2014 Blue Note 3:12
The Complete Albums Collection (1954-1957) 2015 Enlightenment Series 8:29
No Image 2016
Various Artists
Sony Music
'Round Midnight [History] History 3:10
Blue Note 75
Various Artists
Decca 3:12
No Image
Various Artists
Various Artists
Universal 3:12
Jazz Cafe: 60 Smooth Jazz Favourites
Various Artists
Prism Leisure Corporation (UK)
No Image
Various Artists
AP Music
Now Jazz Platinum
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
No Image
Various Artists
All That's Jazz
The  Best of Blue Note [2014]
Various Artists
Blue Note 3:12
No Image
Various Artists
Mixed Repertoire 3:11
The Jazz Collection [Laserlight]
Various Artists
Disky 3:12
Twenty Nine Best of Blue Note
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
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