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Plays Duke Ellington [Original recording remastered]

Thelonious MonkAudio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Price: $12.33 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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MP3 Music, 8 Songs, 2007 $7.99  
Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 2007 $12.33  
Vinyl, 2009 $15.34  

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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. It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) 4:42$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Sophisticated Lady 4:31$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) 5:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Black And Tan Fantasy 3:28$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Mood Indigo 3:16$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart 5:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Solitude 3:45$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Caravan 5:56$1.29  Buy MP3 

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As influential as he proved to be during the final decades of his lifetime, it appears that Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-82) has only gained greater stature in the years since his death. Once considered too eccentric and complex to be appreciated by listeners and other musicians, Monk has become a standard of excellence, as both composer and soloist, for those who seek to extend the jazz ... Read more in Amazon's Thelonious Monk Store

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Plays Duke Ellington + Thelonious Himself: Keepnews Collection + At Town Hall
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 27, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Riverside
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,049 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

One great pianist doffed his cap to another in Monk's 1955 debut for the Ellington label!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Landmark Testimony Of Jazz. March 29, 2007
Format:Audio CD
(Adapted from an older article, copyright 1984, 2007 Michael F. Hopkins)

Listen. This album is a masterpiece of charm and daring, ringing
tonal joy and hard-dancing rhythmic flight. It has withstood the test
of time for over 50 years, and continues to call fresh audiences to
witness. It was the debut of one of the most versatile record labels
in all of Jazz, Riverside Records' resounding gauntlet to the world
on the power, precision, and passion of this African American-rooted
world forum. Most of all, it stands as a showcase of aesthetic nobility,
the compositional finese of Duke Ellington paid conceptual homage by
one of the few pianists who understood the impact of the Duke's many
efforts, matching it with a fierce originality all his own.
of swing and intrigue, Monk crossing the tonal and atonal to deftly
weave chromatic splendor which tickles and tugs on the ear and the
mind, fingers pouring an uncanny balladry to win the soul. An
impeccable trio recording displaying the kindred wares of bassist
Oscar Pettiford and drummer Kenny Clarke, Monk spins enchanting
harmonic tapestries which beckon each listener's attention.

You will never hear "It Don't Mean A Swing (If It Ain't
Got That Swing)" played with such an ironically delicious sense of
freedom and groove as the High Priest delivers in the sure-rolling
scenic cruise holding court here. "Solitude", in a captivating solo
performance, conveys the significance of both loneliness and fortitude
from one who defines the meaning of marching to the beat of a different
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An old fave August 5, 2007
Format:Audio CD
For what it's worth, according to Monk's son (drummer T.S.Monk) this was Monk's favorite of his own recordings. When you hear hear it you might understand why. Underneath everything else Monk's roots were as a stride player and a composer. What better for such a man than the music of the Duke? No, this doesn't have the nice scratchy corners of some of Monk's other work, but it is beautiful nonetheless, and isn't that the point?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing July 14, 2007
Format:Audio CD
While this record is by far more conservative and 'mass appeal' jazz than most of Thelonious' work, his incredible playing does more than do justice to Duke Ellington's work. My favorite by far is Caravan, the last song.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Disink
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
From the time it was released until now, Monk's first album under Orrin Keepnews' care has been either thunderously defended as a legitimate tribute worthy of Monk's name or a sell out that sought to gain an audience at the expense of Monk's fire, a waste of Monk's talent chasing Keepnews' ideal of a Monk record that he could sell. So is it?

Absolutely not. Yes, the Ellington concept wasn't Monk's idea, but he agreed to this and the covers album that followed (both of whose songs he picked, although he learned the Ellington songs from sheet music) as a way to build an audience. Amazingly, it worked, and by the time of the first real Riverside Monk masterpiece, the immortal Brilliant Corners, people were getting into Monk.

Okay, but does the music work? Like crazy. First, note the presence of the amazing rhythm section, consisting of Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Clarke, two musicians sympathetic to both Monk AND Duke. Secondly, don't let the sheet music comments bother you, this is Ellingtonia in Monkland. NOTHING here sounds much like Ellington, save for the majestic tone that Monk retains, but rather like fragments of melody held up to a candle and lovingly laid down as a ride down the same road (Ellington's songs) in a very different car (Monk's playing). Right off the bat, "It Don't Mean a Thing" is toned WAY down, and the melody comes across almost in Morse code. This concept continues, though instead of setting the tunes on fire as he would have at Prestige, here Monk maintains an almost religious awe throughout, a sense of feeling that really drives "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" and the solo "Solitude".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trust your ears September 4, 2012
Format:Audio CD
Stories and myths abound regarding this album and the session that produced it. The acid test is to trust your own ears using the sound samples on this page to make up your own mind.

Personally I love this album even if it strays substantially from Monk's signature sound. What Monk does manage to do, though, is to imprint the playing with his own style while paying homage to Ellington who was his idol.

Specific things about this album I love include the way the trio - comprised of Monk, Oscar Pettiford on bass and the great Kenny Clarke on drums - manages to do justice to compositions written not only for big bands, but with specific musicians in mind. Ellington always wrote for particular musicians instead of instruments, and collaborations such Caravan that Duke cowrote with Juan Tizol have Monk's unmistakable imprint while remaining true to what Duke and Tizon crafted.

Another aspect of the tracks is the beautiful way the trio manages dynamics. Of course I am speaking as a musician, but even non-musician listeners should enjoy the way Monk and his trio swing the music without getting in your face. Consider Caravan. Clarke could have raised the volume by using louder tom patterns, but opted to stick with subtle cross-sticking, and did so while maintaining a propulsive groove that is masterful in my opinion. Moreover, the interplay between and among the musicians is both sublime and beautifully done.

Despite some thinking that Orin Keepnews' conservative approach to cutting Monk's first album for Riverside subsumed Monk's style, I think Monk remained true to it. His characteristic use of space is there. The tempos Monk selected reflect his own style and interpretation of Duke's music. And the use of harmony definitely has Monk's touch.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight. The work of two geniuses
A delight. The work of two geniuses.
Published 1 month ago by Willis B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Thelonious Meets Melodious
I can not think of two more different high profile jazz and standards composers and performers than Monk and Ellington. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Eric P. Stefik
3.0 out of 5 stars A wasted opportunity
As a budding jazz listener, I heard Monk before I ever heard Duke. When I finally got around to listening to the original recording of "Cotton Tail" a few years later and I heard... Read more
Published 9 months ago by G B
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the greatest jazz recordings
I have worn the original LP and then a reissued LP (the Riverside Trios) out, playing this over and over through the years--always coming back to this music. Read more
Published on March 13, 2012 by Romano
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing...
Jazz does not get any better from "It don't mean a thing..." to "Caravan" as rendered by Monk. Thelonious plays Ellington fairly straight which might upset Monk fans, but makes... Read more
Published on December 2, 2010 by Ted Ricks
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting experiment
This CD is pretty good. It's kind of tame, but that is understandable because, according to the notes, Monk had to study the sheet music before he could perform it. Read more
Published on April 8, 2010 by CB
5.0 out of 5 stars Tasty Combination
When you get a combination as in Duke Ellington played by Thelonius Monk, it's a combo that's hard to beat. Buy the album.
Published on November 16, 2008 by S. BRILLIANT
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Doesn't that feel good?
Everyone has an interpretation of Duke Ellington's work, and everyone has an interpretation of Monk's work. Read more
Published on May 3, 2008 by Eric C. Sedensky
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Masters At Work
I thought this was a fine album. I agree with some reviewers that this was not Monk "unleashed." Still, it's neat to hear one master interpret the work of another. Read more
Published on August 31, 2007 by A. Blasko
1.0 out of 5 stars Theolonius Monk
Insipid. As an untried talent, I read the record companies wanted Monk to come out with something "safe. Read more
Published on August 28, 2007 by warparty
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