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Brilliant Corners (Keepnews Collection) Original recording remastered

54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, March 4, 2008
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  • Sample this album Title (Sample)
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13:16
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8:52
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5:26
5
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7:44
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2:34

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 4, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Riverside
  • ASIN: B0012S59ZU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,446 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Fineberg on August 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
From the wonderful documentary "Straight, No Chaser", we know that the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter was born a Rothschild, flew bombers during WWII in de Gaulle's resistance, then came to New York and became one of the foremost patrons of jazz, close friends with Parker, Thelonious, and countless others. Complex lady. Complex tune as well, and one of Monk's most beautiful.

This record was Monk's third for Riverside, but the first to feature his compositions. The title track "Brilliant Corners" is notorious for its strangeness of melody and its doubling of tempo. But the highlight of the record is the ballad "Pannonica", for two reasons... first, Monk doubling on the celeste. I think it must be the only time he ever played another instrument on record, let alone two instruments at once, but he must've been aiming for an ethereal quality for this recording and achieves it in his intro and in his solo, where he alternates between celeste and piano. And second... Sonny Rollins. This was made during Sonny's high point, around the time of "Saxophone Colossus", and I think it is probably his strongest ballad solo, and the strongest saxophone solo anyone has played behind Monk, past Rouse and Johnny Griffin and even Coltrane. As great as Rouse is, whenever he is playing the tune, you can hear him get caught up in the trickiness of the bridge, and he invariably runs back to the theme for safety. Sonny, during his solo, has truly possessed and internalized Monk's composition, and brings all of his astonshing self to the solo. Doesn't falter once. And listen towards the end when he throws in those five consecutive ascending glissandos. Then listen to Monk affectionately duplicate them when he gets into his solo.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dennis on August 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
An all-star line-up often rather disappoints than fulfills your expectation. That these recordings will satisfy you flawlessly is simply due to the fact that nobody would or could have expected music like this. After a whole decade of ignorance and discrimination, in the fall of 1956 Monk was finally given the chance to record an album consisting of own compositions with the best musicians available. And the courageous high-priest of modern music knew how to take the occasion. He wrote three completely new compositions, of which the title piece is so ambitious and tricky - yet so swinging - that few people dared to approach it in the future, including Monk whose remake with Oliver Nelson's Big band is a faint shadow of the masterpiece you can hear on this CD.Everything fits,the virtuosos assembled here were stars of their own virtue but they all execute Monk's music in a rewardingly unselfish manner. And rewarded you'll be as a listener, let alone by Sonny Rollins' solo on the opening track.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ricard Giner (cootie@cootiesjazz.com) on June 3, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Brilliant Corners is remarkable for bringing together musicians who had established themselves as major jazzmen in their own right and yet gave everything on this date to make an album that from the outset would reflect Monk's peculiar musical world. Perhaps it is Monk's most enduring masterpiece.
The title piece is one of the single major works in the jazz canon. It proved so difficult to play that 25 separate cuts had to be spliced together to produce the final piece. Sonny Rollins was the tenor saxophonist on the date and leading guest musician. As a teenager, Rollins had rehearsed alongside Monk. His contribution to "Brilliant Corners" was devastating: he acquired a feel for the unusual structure of the piece -abrupt changes of tempo, bombast followed by bathos, sudden diabolical runs, jumps into double time- and became Monk's voice through a horn, while retaining the unmistakeable Rollins attack. And all this drama was held together by the polyrhythmic adaptability of Max Roach, who had played so magnificently with Rollins a few months earlier on Saxophone Colossus.
The rest of the album contains the eccentric blues "Ba-lue Bolivar Ba-lues-are" (which appears on numerous early 1960s discs, including Monk's Dream, Columbia, 1962), the first recording of "Pannonica", written for the wealthy jazz-lover Pannonica "Nica" de Koenigswarter, in whose New York apartment Charlie Parker had died the year before, "Bemsha Swing", first recorded by Monk in 1952 and on this occasion featuring Duke Ellington's chief trumpeter Clark Terry, and a solo reading of "I Surrender, Dear". This is an essential modern jazz album.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By W. M. Shipman on March 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD
What a great album. Orrin Keepnews, who produced the album in 1956 for Riverside, says that this is the album which really put Thelonius on the map for most jazz fans (outside of the folks who were already in the know). This is certainly a great place to begin your Thelonius collection before moving on to Monk's Dream or other great albums. Plus, one should never miss the chance to hear Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Oscar Pettiford, or Paul Chambers. A must own album.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth L. Danna on January 31, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Thelonius Monk is one of the few musicians to create his own true musical universe, not unlike what Bach did in the 18th century, paving classical music structure in the process. But while Bach's apparent concentration was to maintain a tidy, logical ship, Monk's musical universe consisted of pushing the envelope of the musical consensus to near breaking point on a consistent basis.
Listening to this album, starting with the punishingly beautiful title track (my all-time jazz favorite), you will be challenged with one of the most cerebrally unique in-your-face complex musical statements of all time. Monk was a master juggler of tension, luring you forward, and taking you aback with creative precision. I must have listened to it so many times that I have practically learned every musical nuance of the song (even the improvised solos) and now view it as a classical piece in itself.
The rest of the album follows suit, with "Panonnica" being another particular standout. Every chord change of that song seems to send you further into the twilight, With Monk's Celeste adding a misty taste.
This album is an absolute cure from the conventional. Whenever I get disillusioned which direction the zeitgeist is heading at any particular moment, This album provides a much-needed change of perspective. I bought Monk's 15-CD Complete Riverside Recordings box set, but this album is still his best. Not really for Celine Dion fans, but may be a solution to that and similar afflictions.
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