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Solo Monk Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, August 19, 2003
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 19, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000AVHBN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,527 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Hearing Thelonious Monk as a solo pianist is always a unique experience-- his style, always rather unique in its use of space and rhythm, picks up a delicate stride feel to it when presented without other instruments. After four quartet albums, in late 1964 Columbia record Monk in a solo context, on an album cleverly called "Solo Monk". This reissue augments the original twelve song album with nine bonus tracks, creating a rather extensive set.

The album itself is the usual blend of Monk originals and standards-- Monk's stride (and to a lesser extent ragtime) influences come out clearly through many fo the standards he tackles, with fantastic takes of "Dinah" and "I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)" being deep in the stride tradition (although there is definitely something very Monkish about them. Comparing these to the very Monkish "I Surrender, Dear" or the extraordinarily fractured "I Should Care" shows the real breadth of Monk's talents as a pianist. The originals include two pieces never before recorded-- "North of the Sunset" and "Monk's Point". Both are similar (Bb blues with stride execution), neither are particularly revalatory. Readings of "Ask Me Now" and "Ruby, My Dear" fare much better. The former has both a deliberate and sensitive feel to it. The latter is one of those pieces I can just never get sick of, it's one of my favorites by Monk and is rendered beautifully.

The bonus tracks are kind of a mixed bag-- seven are alternates of material that was issued on the LP-- some of these are interesting and you wonder why Monk picked the take he did rather than the one on here ("Ruby, My Dear"), some of them clearly find Monk fumbling a bit and trying to work out his ideas ("Dinah", "Sweet and Lovely").
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Format: Audio CD
"..Monk's unique piano style was largely perfected during his stint as the house pianist at 'Mintons' in New York City during the early to mid 1940's when he participated in the famous after hours 'cutting competitions' that featured most of the leading jazz soloist of the period.The Minton's scene was crucial in the formulations of the be-bop genre,and brought Monk in close contact with Charlie Parker,Dizzy Gillepie,Kenny Clarke and other greats of the day..."[Excerpts from a profile of Monk on Wikipedia] Minton's was the breeding ground for the devolopment of a new musical language.New harmonic and melodic approaches were developed and perfected. A 'thinking tank' so to speak.
Thelonious Monk was 'smack dab' in the middle of it.So taking that all into consideration on this recording we have the unique oppurtunity of hearing the master by himself,with the added pleasure of a perfectly tuned piano.One of great masters of the improvised line,along with his strikingly original harmonic ideas makes this a real treat.The tune list is a mixture of originals and standards such as 'I Should Care'(Weston/Stordahl),'Everything Happens to Me'(Dennis-Adair),and his own classic 'Ruby My Dear'.This comes highly recommended.
Health and Happiness
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Format: Audio CD
If I ever build a memory capsule with my children, for their children, this will be going down in it. I have 2 copies now, one un-opened, and one in heavy rotation in my multi disc carousel. This album far surpasses that of today's standard of music. From tracks 1 through 12, and on to the additional 9 tracks, the album has no flaws.
"Monk's Point" demonstrates his uncanny ability to show us the way and keep us on the path to solemn and effecient music.The many cultural overtones presented on this album are that of a musical visionary, who not only knew how to perform music, but to live music.
At only 24 years old myself, as well being an actor and a singer, this album has shown me, the real pleasures in life; and that is being as he once was. In as many places at the same time, and not leaving the comforts of your own home. This is pure delight.
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Format: Audio CD
I thought Monk didn't know how to make a conventional album. And yet, here it is. A solo piano record, half of it standards like "I Surrender Dear", "Sweet and Lovely", "I'm Confessin'", and "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)". The standards aren't terribly revealing, though "These Foolish Things" has a nice minor-key atmosphere to it - they actually show a rarely seen side of Monk, the traditionalist, old-school side, the kind of stuff you'd hear in a keyboard lounge if it weren't for Monk's technique. But they're good, because no matter what, Monk can really play. I find I like Monk's originals better, though. "North of the Sunset", written specially for the project, is an entertaining stride piano oddity that's way too brief; "Ruby My Dear" is one of Monk's most poignant melodies; "Monk's Point" is nicely jumpy; "I Should Care", despite not having a melody of any kind, is still entertaining weirdness; "Ask Me Now" is simply one of my favorite Monk tunes, and I'm a big fan of the dissonant ending, as if to remind you of whose record this really is. I really don't have much to say about the rest of it. "Dinah", "I Hadn't Had Anyone Till You", and "Everything Happens to Me" are three far more obscure covers, and while they're nice and listenable, even if they all sound the same. And despite the fact that it's totally out-of-character for Monk, it's still a good record. I mean, what else is there to say about it? I've got no clue how to review solo piano albums in the first place - this would be only the second I've heard, after Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack (which I think is a great record, by the way). But hey, I like it, even though Monk's full-band classics blow it away.
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