There is really no one quite like Thelonious Monk in the whole history of jazz music. His compositional style, much like his odd, fractured and angular piano playing, was deceptively simple and repetitive, full of endlessly circular progressions that seemed to almost intersect themselves at whim, ending up more like auditory puzzle boxes than anything resembling a jazz standard. But at least two of Monk's compositions, "'Round Midnight" and "Straight No Chaser," are just that, modern jazz standards, and a similar case could be made for "Ruby, My Dear" and several other of Monk's pieces. This tight set spotlights Monk as composer and covers the pre-Columbia Records years 1947 to 1959 when he was recording for the Blue Note, Prestige and Riverside labels.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett