Art Blakey / Thelonious Monk

Blue Monk

Song Review by

“Blue Monk” which became a centerpiece of Thelonious Monk’s live performances, was initially recorded by the pianist in 1954 for Prestige with Percy Heath and Art Blakey. The theme to this upbeat blues is rather straightforward, especially when compared to the dissonance of many of his best known compositions, but it proved to be an excellent number for his quartet performances featuring tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse during their eleven year association, as it fueled some of Rouse’s best solos. It appears on a vast number of Monk’s CDs and LPs. Many other jazz musicians have been drawn to this catchy 12 bar blues, including Kenny Barron, Bill Evans, Art Farmer, Hank Jones, Earl Hines, Dexter Gordon, McCoy Tyner, Clifford Jordan and Phil Woods, to name only a few. Abbey Lincoln wrote and recorded lyrics to it, though relatively few vocal versions of “Blue Monk” have emerged; the best one available is Carmen McRae’s potent interpretation (retitled “Monkery’s the Blues”) from her terrific release Carmen Sings Monk.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Thelonious Monk 1958 Atlantic 7:54
Classic Jazz Duos 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 7:59
Jazz [Warner] 2008
Various Artists
Warner Music 7:49
Atlantic Jazz Legends 2014
Various Artists
Rhino 7:49