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Melodious Thunk 2

wed 26 oct 2022
Theme: Jazz

Saturday 29th October 2022, 14:00 – Concertzender Live. The album Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall (1957) is the result of a lucky find. In 1968  a 16 year old schoolboy from Palo Alto (Californië) invited Thelonious Monk to play at his high school. Monk came, the conciërge organised a taperecorder, and had the piano tuned. That last part wasn’t perfect, but what a concert!

In 2005 in the archive of the Library of Congress a number of tapes labelled ‘Carnegie Hall Jazz 1957’ were discovered. On one of the tapes was ‘T.Monk’. It turned out to be a concert recording of the Thelonious Monk quartet met tenor John Coltrane, bass Ahmed Abdul-Malik and drummer Shadow Wilson.

Coltrane was fired in 1957 by Miles Davis from his quintet because of behavioural problems caused by drink and drugs. Monk then asked him to come and play in the New York Five Spot. This was the start of an intensive collaboration which drove both of them to higher levels. Coltrane found it difficult to make Monk’s unique pieces his own.They practised for weeks at Monk’s home. On 29th November 1957, the evening of the Carnegie Hall concert, they were completely in tune.

Monk’s Mood is a duet between sax and piano. The ballad slowly comes to life. Coltrane’s intense playing is sublimely complemented by Monks virtuosity. Listen hard.
In the following Evidence the tempo increases and the quartet ensemble is heard to its fullest.
Crepuscule with Nellie is Monk’s only completely composed work.
Drummer Shadow Wilson hits polyrythmic cymbal figures in the theme sections of Epistrophy. There’s a lot going on…

Monk biographer Robin D.G. Kelley calls the Monk-Coltrane quartet “…one of the most important ensembles of the 1950s, if not the century.”

Danny Scher is  a 16 year old student in 1968 in Palo Alto (CA). A jazz fan. He gets to contract the Thelonious Monk Quartet for a school concert. The janitor runs a tape recorder. The recording is discovered 50 years later. Monk’s son, T.S., is amazed at the high quality of the performance and cooperates with the album release Monk – Palo Alto (2020). T.S. Monk: “He (Thelonious) was playing his ass off, and the band was really cooking.”

Not only is the music of high quality, so is the recording.
Monk played with Charlie Rouse on tenor sax, Larry Gales bass and Ben Riley drums. Well, You Needn’t lasts 13 minutes and it’s not a moment too long. Larry Gales sings along with his long bass solo, in which he includes 2 quotations (pay attention!).Drummer Riley gets plenty of solo time.

Click here for the complete playlist. Click here for the playlist for part one and here for the accompanying Newsletter.

Concertzender Live – Jaap van de Klomp