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Brilliant Corners [Original recording remastered]

Thelonious Monk, T. S. MonkAudio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 5 Songs, 2009 $4.45  
Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 2008 $9.99  
Vinyl, 2013 $17.40  
Audio Cassette, 1991 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Brilliant Corners 7:47Album Only
listen  2. Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are13:16Album Only
listen  3. Pannonica 8:52Album Only
listen  4. I Surrender Dear 5:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Bemsha Swing 7:44Album Only
listen  6. Pannonica (Incomplete) 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Frequently Bought Together

Brilliant Corners + Monk's Dream + Mingus Ah Um
Price for all three: $26.18

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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 (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,367 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pannonica 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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance is just one of its attributes 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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Genius And Six Masters August 7, 2000
By Dennis
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Place To Start 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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bach's one-uppance and a deserved classic 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Suberb quality jazz
Brilliant Corners is a brilliant album, complex songs,yet easy too listen too. Monk is refered to as a genius by many critics and I would agree based on this album alone.
Published 3 months ago by XEagleDriver
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just Brilliant Music, but a Brilliant Album, Perhaps Monk's Best
There's a reason this one sits at the top of so many Monk lists. It is, in its way, the summation of everything Monk had done up to that point: the discovery of the Blue Note... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Disink
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant corners vinyl
Bought this as a gift for son in law as he has just started collecting vinyls. He loves it. Thank you, Amazon.
Published 5 months ago by Judy
5.0 out of 5 stars Aptly named
There is nothing I can or should add to the mythology of this album. Brilliant! By name and nature. Listen
Published 10 months ago by Peter Abbott
5.0 out of 5 stars He Stretches His Music To Extended Heights
Brilliant Corners would be Thelonious Monk's next breakthrough album just after a
decade as a recording artist and nine years after achieving worldwide celebrite for... Read more
Published 11 months ago by RH
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 star lp
This is Thelonious Monk at his best I have a copy of this lp but I wore it out. Great to have a good copy again.
Published 13 months ago by mitch
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite Monk!
This album could easily qualify as Thelonious' best. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and was added to the US National Recording Registry. Read more
Published 16 months ago by brotagonist
5.0 out of 5 stars very sweet mono
Lovely job by Doxy of a stone classic. Sonny Rollins is consistently sublime. I haven't heard the newer Waxtime, but this is as good as I could imagine.
Published on June 16, 2012 by G. Wallace
2.0 out of 5 stars A dissenting view
There seems to be some consensus that this is a classic, but I am unable to enjoy it. I absolutely love Monk's Dream and was looking for more. Read more
Published on May 12, 2012 by LR
5.0 out of 5 stars Monk & Co are excellent in "Corners"!
There are enough rave reviews on this classic disc to warrant Monk and jazz fans to buy it when you have Monk's co-horts include players of the caliber of Sonny Rollins, Max Roach,... Read more
Published on January 29, 2012 by Dennis W. Wong
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