Thelonious Monk

Live: Olympia 6 Mars 1965, Pt. 2

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Thelonious Monk was frequently recorded for radio broadcast during his European tours, which has produced a phenomenal output of live CDs. This volume features the pianist with longtime tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist Larry Gales, and drummer Ben Riley. Like many concert performances, most of these tracks are extended workouts, with Monk frequently ducking out during solos by others. "Well, You Needn't" is a highlight, with great playing and the leader displaying his puckish humor, quoting from various folk tunes in his solo. He disguises the introduction to "Bright Mississippi" (his reworking of the chord changes to "Sweet Georgia Brown") with a sparse, playful vamp, while later trading licks with Riley. His obligatory theme song, "Epistrophy," is a full performance rather than a beg-off finale. Reissued a number of times by different labels, this portion of Thelonious Monk's 1965 Paris concert is enjoyable, even if it falls short of being essential.

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