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Alone in San Francisco (OJC Remasters) Original recording remastered

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, June 14, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

This 1959 Riverside solo date, a sequel to Thelonious Himself , found Monk delivering one of his most relaxed, thoughtful, quietly moving performances. Two takes of There's Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie join Blue Monk; Round Lights; Ruby, My Dear; Bluehawk; Remember , and more. A must for Monk fans!
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Digital Booklet: Thelonious Alone In San Francisco [Original Jazz Classics Remasters]
Digital Booklet: Thelonious Alone In San Francisco [Original Jazz Classics Remasters]
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 14, 2011)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Original Jazz Classics
  • ASIN: B004X30XQG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,052 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Musicians prize relaxation in performance and often find it very hard to come by. On this album, you will find Monk in fine form and also far more relaxed than is normal for him. Other solo albums and group outings often proceeded in fits and starts, during his recording sessions -- an example would be the album Thelonious Himself. That album is no less brilliant(it is Monk, after all) but his playing is far less relaxed than it is on Alone in San Francisco. For me, this album vies for all-time favorite #1 status, and the cut "Blue Monk" stands alone as my all-time favorite jazz cut. I hasten to add that I am a sucker for remastering, and this makes my third purchase of this CD; the remastering is excellent!! I am stingy with stars, as a rule, but, in this case, the five-star rating doesn't really do this CD justice.
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Format: Audio CD
Having finely gained fame as a pianist with his recordings on Riverside, Monk took this 1959 timeout from leading group dates to lay down an album of solo sides. Recorded in San Francisco's resonant Fugazi Hall (a spot popular with the Beats, and more recently home to the long-running Beach Blanket Babylon), Monk revisited several of his own classics, as well as several standards. The pianist seems relaxed and playful, entertaining himself as much as playing for the record's eventual audience. Coming off sessions with Gerry Mulligan, Johnny Griffin, and others, Monk takes time to explore the tunes, running through varied interpretations of key phrases and indulging his idiosyncratic approach to tempo.

"Ruby My Dear" sounds as if it's played on a music box cranked by a listener whose love of certain passages causes the intensity and tempo to increase. Monk stretches the piano's dynamics from tender to nearly showy romanticism, exercising both the fluidity with which its notes can be strung together and the percussive ability of its hammers. He lets chords hang in the recording hall's reverberant air, listening as his own playing surrounded him. This rendition of "Blue Monk" may be the best of the many versions he recorded, while several other titles were one-offs, including the original "Round Lights" and the 1929 standard "There's Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie." An earlier take of the latter is included as a bonus track. Concord's latest reissue of this Riverside title was newly remastered in 24-bits by Joe Tarnatino. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]
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Format: Audio CD
I have a number of Monk solo LP's on both Riverside and Columbia labels. The Riverside LP's were recorded mostly in the late 1950's, as was this one, Alone in San Francisco. I really like his performance of Blue Monk in this set. All of these recordings seemed to be more relaxed and the harmony more fully fleshed out. Monk was really playing well that day. The digital remastering was also well done. The bonus track here, take 1 of "There's Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie" I think is better than the one they released on the original LP. I don't know why I missed this one earlier.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've Listened to Thelonious since I was a little kid in the 50's. This recording is a great foil for some of his more upbeat music. If you're familiar with his work it brings new understanding to his phrasing, he manages to make it sound so melodic, when in fact it's just brillant. Also a great Thelonious starter if you're just getting into the man and his music. The entire album is a joy from start to finish, one of my all time favorite "live" jazz recordings. The quality of the recording is equally good. You can't go wrong with this one.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In the course of his long recording career, Monk made exactly five solo piano records (as well as scores of solo SONGS, of course, on nearly all of his records). The first was in 1954 for the Vogue label while touring France (and unbeknownst to his label at the time, Prestige, who wouldn't have allowed it). That record is easy to find, but few seem to have it, perhaps because the sound quality is not all it should be. The fourth and fifth were after his Riverside time, with Solo Monk for Columbia in 1964 and a capping of Monk's career some eight years later with a record of solo pieces recorded while on tour in London for Black Lion. The second, Thelonious Himself: Keepnews Collection, was for Riverside in 1957, and the marvelous solo work is a bit overshadowed by its one recording with musicians, though that recording is "Monk's Mood" and features the first ever appearance of John Coltrane on a Monk record. The third is here. Orrin Keepnews, Riverside owner/producer, notes in the liner notes to "Thelonious Himself" that "Alone in San Francisco" is more mellow than its predecessor, and that Keepnews prefers a slightly more tense Monk. Sure, why not, but don't think for a second that this fantastic album is simply a flip side to the other, a "west coast" Side B to the decidedly "east coast" Side A. They're both their own unique albums, and each demands its own time and attention to appreciate, and both are worth it.

"Alone in San Francisco" came together spontaneously, and that is one of its joys.
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