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Alone in San Francisco

5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 1, 1991
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$16.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 8 left in stock. Sold by megahitrecords and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Thelonious Monk was a brilliant improviser, using his incredible rhythmic sense and his harmonic ingenuity to find new possibilities in his own works or standards while touching on the wellsprings of the blues and early jazz piano styles. Those gifts were never more apparent than in his whimsical and inspired solo performances, like this one from 1959. In addition to the usual fare, Monk could always reach into a treasure trove of pop songs others had forgotten. Here he makes original music out of the ancient and ephemeral "There's Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie," and he manages to do it on two separate takes. --Stuart Broomer
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Digital Booklet: Thelonious Alone In San Francisco [Original Jazz Classics Remasters]
Digital Booklet: Thelonious Alone In San Francisco [Original Jazz Classics Remasters]
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ojc
  • ASIN: B000000YCZ
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,008 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
There are simply no other records, to me, that capture a sense of harmony, melody, beauty, pain, loneliness, joy, all in one magical recording. This set was recorded in the afternoon between shows in San Fran. The song selection is amazing. This is a record I never put away for long. It has a magical spontaneity to it. Monk's playing is brilliant, but he has that Neil Young-type quality of being slightly flawed or imperfect in evertying he does. This is why I love his music (and Neil's too).
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By A Customer on April 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I have quite a few monk recordings and love his work with the full groups, but I really like this recording which shows him off more than other recordings. This is the best monk solo recording vs. the two others commercially available. Also check out Mingus Plays Piano.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you like Monk, but don't own any of his solo recordings, you need to. His playing was dramatically different without a group behind him. While his ensemble playing is wild and loose, truly improvisational, his solo playing is even and disciplined. He strikes a perfect balance between joy and melancholy. To get a true picture of Monk, you have to have his solo material.
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Format: Audio CD
These recordings have a richness that any Monk fan will admire: alone, with no backing musicians, Thelonious takes solo flight on his own tunes as well as some well-chosen standards. Consider the beat movement well underway in San Francisco at the time, with an emphasis on individual expression, and the album takes on classic status: as Orrin Keepnews notes, Monk was in "a predominantly lyrical and introspective mood" during these sessions, undercutting the image of the pianist as a distant and difficult artist.

There had been a solo album two years earlier, "Thelonious Himself," more angular and nearly mathematical in approach, but "Alone" is clearly romantic: "Ruby My Dear," a heartbreaking cover of "Everything Happens to Me," Irving Berlin's swooning "Remember," and a gorgeous reading of "Blue Monk" are standouts. Perhaps Monk and Riverside Records were attempting to capitalize on his newfound critical success -- and the popularity of other albums by pianists like Erroll Garner -- but "Alone in San Francisco" is Monk in his purest form. unaccompanied. It offers a chance "to hear Thelonious as he thinks and sounds when he has chosen to be ... complete in himself," as Keepnews emphasizes in the liner notes. After nearly fifty years, the album's still a beauty.
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Format: MP3 Music
What would turn out to be his next chart-topping solo hit, Thelonious Monk have
gave another time-honoured recital with Thelonious Alone In San Francisco, whom
he performed with grace and such splendid class of it's own. Recorded live at San
Francisco's Fugazi Hall in 1959, he showcase a thoroughly robust and ambient set
of unaccompanied tracks as the live program maintained a winning balance placed
right alongside Monk's classic balladry which results in some of his most thoughtful
and moving performing. The track set delivers a set of fresh compositions such as
Bluehawk and Round Lights, as well as a selection of pop hits from his youth inclu-
ding There's Danger In Your Eyes, Cherie and You Took The Words Right Out Of
My Heart. Ranked alongside other great solo masterworks like Piano Solo (1954),
Thelonious Himself (1957), Solo Monk (1965) and Blue Sphere (1973), Thelonious
Alone In San Francisco stand out as among of his greatest solo albums, where the
overtones are rich and thoughtful in it's ability to well-showcase Monk's recreations
of some of his endearing works like his solo take of Blue Monk, where it still retains
the proud stride and walking blues heritage, and in even the familiar, albeit offbeat,
chord progression from Ruby, My Dear hits a striking note. With a set of off-tempo
improvisation emphasizing on harder rhythmic force and evocative clarity, this solo
masterpiece will remain always remain as timeless and majestic as ever.
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Format: Audio CD
This was the first of many Monk recordings I've picked up, and it's still my favourite! While large ensemble recordings are always impressive (like the It Club re-release), "Alone" really gives you the chance to appreciate this madman's individual genius. When it's just Monk and the piano, the silences between the notes take on an importance and an impact that you just can't capture in a group recording. Please listen to this album - it'll be good for your soul!
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