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Monk's Dream

September 3, 2002

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: September 3, 2002
  • Release Date: September 3, 2002
  • Label: Columbia/Legacy
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:12:44
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00136Q1NK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,078 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It is hard to imagine getting tired of this album.
William E. Adams
This is probaly the best record to go to if one needed to check out Thelonious Monk in a quartet setting, or any setting for that matter.
Chris Covais
Monk was a unique musician who has a timeless quality.
gator

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Jan P. Dennis on November 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
We all know Monk was a genius when it came to composition. What's most remarkable to me in this set is his genius as jazz pianist.
For his brilliance as a pianist, check out "Bright Mississippi," which, with "Epistrophe," is one of his most challenging compositions. What strikes me about his playing on this cut, besides the bizarro yet perfectly apt chord voicings, is the incredible way he mixes comping, soloing, and group interaction. It's almost as if he's defined an entirely new approach to jazz piano. Amazingly, Charlie Rouse, his long-time collaborator on sax, seems to have perfectly picked up on the vibe, spinning off a wonderful solo that somehow melds perfectly into the group ineractive vibe laid down in the first few bars. It's almost as if this group has figured out a new way to play jazz--not the traditional statement of the head, solo improv by each instrument, then a return to the head--but rather solo/group interaction with no clear delination between who's soloing and who's comping. And this glorious democracy of group improv continues throughout this entire remarkable disc, surely a landmark in the history of jazz music.
Undoubtedly, this vibe has been picked up by any number of the hottest trio jazz units, from Jason Moran to Jean-Michel Pilc to Frank Kimbrough. Indeed, as great a composer as he was--and I in no way want to diminish his contribution here--Monk was perhaps as great an innovator in terms of his understanding of jazz small-group communication and interaction.
This disc, his first for a major label, Columbia, is also a high point not only in his career, but in the history of jazz.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By G. McCoy on January 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I won't gush about how it's the best thing since sliced scrapple, but it's pretty stinking good. A well-recorded selection of Monk originals and covers, Charlie Rouse blowing the roof off, and the whole band moving like an elastic waistband make it a very listenable set. It's a happy record, really, unlike many jazz records; this band loves playing this music, and it really shows. It also features Rouse at the top of his game as Monk's foremost collaborator/interpreter on sax; at times, Rouse and Monk seem almost telephathic. If you haven't heard Monk on record, make no mistake: like all Monk records, this isn't your grandpa's dance music. But it's one of Monk's most accessible sessions in that all the tunes are both inventive and 'right on,' and unlike most other Monk records, it's a happy swinger throughout, or at least as much as that is true of any Monk record. The band takes its chances, but they all seem to pay off. There are no clunkers here.
Jazz nazis (if it takes one to know one, fine; I used to be one) will sneer that it isn't odd or inaccessible enough to be a classic, but that doesn't mean you have to miss this enjoyable record. If Monk's music is a language all its own, then this is one of his better conversations.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Fineberg on November 11, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Monk's first album for Columbia is a quartet session, as so many of them are, and featured what would be his steady band for a few years, with Rouse, Dunlop, and Ore. The highlight is the title song. Monk had such inventive names for his compositions, part of the fun is finding a way to correlate them to the music. "Monk's Dream" seems to me to have a distinctively dream-like quality, though I'm at a loss to describe it coherently with words. No matter. It's vintage Monk--strange, humorous, beautiful. Charlie Rouse's solo on "Bright Mississippi" may very well be the very best solo he's ever played--he begins, quite cleverly, by falling off the cliff of Monk's composition, and spends the rest of his solo climbing his way out and ascending. It's a shame then, that it's followed immediately by an extremely rare poor Monk solo--he seems quite lost and never catches fire. This album also has the wonderful tune "Bye-ya", and Monk's signature solo run-through of "Just a Gigolo".
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on October 4, 2005
Format: Audio CD
In 1962, bebop was on its way out the door, but Thelonious Monk's star was rising. Having spent the better part of the previous decade signed to Riverside (where he moved from underground to somewhat more popularly known), he signed to Columbia Records' growing jazz department (it should be noted that all the praise that is often levied on Columbia for all this jazz they recorded should be tempered by noting how quickly they kicked these artists to the curb when they decided this music was not commercial enough). Monk appeared to be happy to be signed to the label, as he took his working quartet (including Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, John Ore on bass and Frankie Dunlop on drums) into the studio to record this album, "Monk's Dream", which has an ecstatic energy to it that many Monk pieces lack in favor of introspection.

Perhaps the most telling is the title track and opener, "Monk's Dream"-- it's energetic, upbeat and exciting, with Monk's playing fractured and explosive and Rouse matching. This pretty much sticks through the entire record, including the solo piano feature "Body and Soul", a stunning take on "Blue Bolivar Blues" (with a superb solo by Rouse) and "Bye-Ya", where Dunlop gets to show just what he's got in him. Throughout, the playing is superb, the group interaction is near-psychic, and the mood is exciting and upbeat-- check out closer "Sweet and Lovely"-- Monk freely associates on the theme under Rouse's solo, responding to the soloist and gently urging him on while Ore and Dunlop lock with the leader. The only exception to the mood of the record is the take of "Just a Gigolo", performed on solo piano, the only really moody piece on the record. Nonetheless, the performance is breathtaking as Monk deconstructs the piece totally.
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