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At Town Hall Original recording remastered
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There isn't a bad song here. Monk is joined by the following musicians: Phil Woods (alto saxophone); Charlie Rouse (tenor saxophone); Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone); Donald Byrd (trumpet); Robert Northern (French horn); Eddie Bert (trombone); Jay McAllister (tuba); Sam Jones (bass); and Art Taylor (drums). What a killer band!
This concert is also an oddity in the Monk catalog as he never recorded again with a band of this caliber or size again. If you enjoy this I would suggest getting "Big Band And Quartet In Concert," but I would seriously pick the other one up first, because "Big Band..." is out-of-print now. "At Town Hall" is in print, but it won't be before too long I'm sure.
If you're a Monk fan then pick this one up right now.
When this was recorded live on February 28, 1959 it captured an interesting line-up, and more importantly, Monk in a large ensemble setting. I am sure that the choice of low register instruments like a trombone, French horn and tuba were Hall Overton's idea when he wrote the arrangements. They certainly add a dimension to Monk's music that you will not hear on any other recording.
Another thing I find interesting is aside from 'Round Midnight none of Monk's compositions lend themselves to being arranged too far outside of Monk's original compositions, but Overton does an excellent job - and Monk, bless him, plays in the spirit. The other musicians on the recording are also top notch and add much to the final product.
Normally when there are sound samples as there are on this page I cop out and encourage listening to those as a guide. In the case of this album those samples are too short to give you the full flavor, but they do give a tantalizing taste.
Some of the tracks seem to have an echo (or they do to my ears), but that does not detract from my enjoyment. If you are seeking perfection you are going to be slightly disappointed. However if you are seeking insights into Monk's compositions and how they sound in an ensemble in which he normally did not participate, then you will find this to be a treasure despite some flaws.
Also note that this album is vastly different from the original 1959 release. First, track 1 - Thelonious - on the original was only 56 seconds long. A snippet really. Here it's the full version. Second, the original release only contained six tracks. This has ten, including an encore of Little Rootie Tootie, Blue Monk, In Walked Bud and Rhythm-A-Ning.
Here is the bottom line: Love Monk? Get it.
For this, we have such players as Pepper Adams, Phil Woods and Donald Byrd playing a large lineup of brass and reeds, emphasizing the saxophones and trumpet along with the less common French horn and tuba.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A splendid remaster and swinging introduction to the music and piano playing of the INCOMPARABLE jazz master, Thelonious Sphere Monk.Published 14 months ago by B. Matthews
Even if you have a lot of Thelonious Monk recordings, you may want to add this one. The tentet arrangements, recorded live, add new dimension to the great artist's repertoire.Published on July 21, 2014 by Bill from OKC
A full length version of Thelonious and 3 bonus quartet tracks add up to more than 75 minutes of glorious music. Read morePublished on October 13, 2013 by alan
In 1959, as Monk still topped the jazz charts while impressing listeners with more
creative and adventurous stylings in his music, he gave a highly publicized concert... Read more
Oh wow is this album worth a bunch.I started the player and just sat back and thought "this is great!" It is of good sound quality and I enjoy every song on the playlist. Read morePublished on June 7, 2013 by Joshua Tree 1973
If you know the work of Thelonious Monk, buy this CD. This is Monk is a big band setting, with arrangements coordinated between Monk and Overton Park. Read morePublished on August 27, 2010 by Earl Artis