As another portion of the Legends of Jazz series, Eclipse released Epistrophy (or "Epitrophy" as the misprinted label states) as the installment pertaining to Thelonious Monk. The album is basically a collection of performances, recorded circa 1963 or 1964, of a basic jazz quartet, headed by the genius of modern music himself. By various cues, it would appear that most if not all of the tracks were live recordings. The album begins with "Well You Needn't," one of Monk's trademark pieces, and moves through a couple more songs, "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" and the title track "Epistrophy," before moving to a wonderful interpretation of the standard "Body and Soul," which Monk thoroughly de-standardizes before he's finished. Finally, Monk standard (and pop semi-standard) "Straight No Chaser" appears, followed by "Rhythm-a-Ning." Though the performances might not be at Monk's top quality, that's mainly because of the amazingly high quality that Monk could attain, and they are quite sensational in their own right, as Monk rarely played a song the same way twice. Not a bad choice at the price level, though other compilations of Monk's work might be better, such as Blue Note's Best of Thelonious Monk from 1991.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg