Monk's Dream Import
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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, September 3, 2002
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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.Read more ›
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.
These Wax Time reissues aren't from original masters but CDs(!) of recordings considered public domain in certain regions. So if you want legitimate audiophile quality, keep looking. If you just want a nice record, the Wax Time reissues are okay but, word to the wise, they retail for around $10-13 so don't get jacked. You should know what you're buying isn't the same as a legit reissue from actual master recordings. Check my review of the Ella and Louis Wax Time reissue for a bit more detail, but it's the same story.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a bit slow to arrive. I have not listened to all the tracks yet,
but I am not impressed with the first one, which is the title track. Read more
Further to mattmattmatt's review:
It's good to see someone commenting on the quality and provenance of these reissues, it would be great if more folks would do so, especially... Read more
Monk plays all the right wrong notes. One of the best bebop albums ever. Get it for it will expand your mind.Published 2 months ago by N. Lyons
If you are a TRUE Jazz lover....this is a must for your collection. One of the GREATEST Jazz Albums of all time. VINYL arrived in great condition and is very high quality. Buy it!Published 5 months ago by Gorilla Millionaire