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  Наименование CD :
   Piano Solo: Thelonious Himself. Thelonious Alone In San Francisco. Solo Monk

Год издания : 1957/1964

Компания звукозаписи : Riverside, OJC, (ru)

Музыкальный стиль : Bop

Время звучания : 2:04:51

К-во CD : 2

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Jazz (Piano - Bop)      

3 LP on 2 CD

## 101 - 108 - 'Thelonious Himself' 1957 Riverside/OJC (4*)

This OJC CD reissues a mostly-solo set by pianist Thelonious Monk. Monk's hesitant stride and thoughtful yet very unpredictable flights are always a joy to hear. He performs a variety of swing standards (including "April in Paris" and "I'm Getting Sentimental over You"), his blues "Functional" and as a "bonus" track there is an alternate take of "'Round Midnight" from the earlier date. The one non-solo track is "Monk's Mood," a ballad that finds Monk joined by tenor saxophonist John Coltrane and bassist Wilbur Ware. The overall results are not quite essential but they should greatly interest Thelonious Monk fans who do not have his huge Riverside box set.

- Scott Yanow (All Music Guide)

## 109 - 112, 201- 206 - 'Thelonious Alone In San Francisco' 1959 Riverside/OJC (4.5*)

All Music Guide

## 207 - 218 - 'Solo Monk' 1964 Columbia (5*)

The mystery and haunting angular beauty of Thelonious Monk's unadorned keyboard sides are the focus of Solo Monk. As if possessing the history of jazz in his hands, Monk's solo recordings and performances from every phase of his career remain pure. The components of what made Monk such an uncompromising composer, arranger, and especially bandmember are evident in every note he plays. The disc includes both Monk originals as well as several covers of pop music standards. A majority of these sides were cut during a West Coast swing in late-October/early-November 1964. This highly productive jaunt would likewise yield two live releases: Live at the It Club and Live at the Jazz Workshop; both would feature Monk's quartet. On an emotional level, however, these sides arguably surpass many of the band recordings. "Sweet and Lovely" contains several passages that are played with the command and intensity usually demanded of a classical work. The intense yet sophisticated chord progressions that punctuate "Ruby, My Dear" transform what once were simple pop melodies into unaccompanied rhapsodies. Monk transforms the solitude of "Everything Happens to Me" into a minor bop masterpiece replete with his signature disjointed phrasings and variable pacing. The 1992 CD reissue added one bonus track - a Monk original titled "Introspection" - which now closes the collection. Parties interested in a more complete retrospective of Thelonious Monk's '60s solo recordings should also check out Monk Alone: The Complete Columbia Solo Piano Recordings 1962-1968.

- Lindsay Planer (All Music Guide)

========= from the cover ==========

Thelonious Himself solo piano by Thelonious Monk

This, you might say, is an album of undiluted Monk. Like most generalizations, that would be putting things a bit too simply, but the core of truth is there. For, with the deliberate exception of the final selection, this is literally Thelonious Himself - Monk, alone in the recording studio, offering highly personal versions of some standards and some of his own tunes.

Any musician who has had the experience can verify that it is hard (though rewarding) work to play with Monk. To some extent, the whole matter of the "difficulty" of his music has been overdone; but the fact remains that, like any true creative artist, Thelonious proceeds singlemindedly along his own path, and even the many modern musicians who admire him so deeply do not always find it easy to grasp fully or execute perfectly the intricate and demanding patterns that Monk's mind can evolve. This does not mean that Monk playing by himself is a "perfect" situation; for when Monk is with a rhythm section or scoring for horns, the other voicings are fully necessary parts of what he has in mind for the occasion- and I do not know of any recording on which the men involved have not ultimately risen (often brilliantly) to meet the challenge. But what is special about this particular album is the rare opportunity it affords to hear Thelonious as he thinks and sounds when he has chosen to be, temporarily, complete in himself.

As might be expected, the overall tone of this album is reflective. The tempos are relaxed and there is a good deal of that sometimes deceptive feeling of searching, while playing, for an idea to explore, of almost unexpectedly fiding in a single note or phrase the impetus for a full chorus that follows. This is a feeling that often gives Monk's playing a quality of thinking-out-loud. It isn't that he sounds unprepared, or surprised by the directions in which he takes himself; it is rather, as if he were constantly discovering and rediscovering within himself both new and remembered, patterns of music.

It will be clear to anyone familiar with his work that Monk playing alone is not merely a case of a pianist performing with drums, bass and horns removed. There is something quite different in sound, and I think even in conception and approach. It may in part be that, being alone, he feels completely free to practice his unconventional and often irregular concepts of rhythmic 'time.' It is also, probably, partly a matter of not having to occupy a portion of his mind with the problems of being a bandleader. On the whole, though, I prefer not to fool around with analysis: the difference is there; hearing it and reacting to it on the one unaccompanied selection on each of Monk's first three Riverside LPs led me to suggest that he make an entire album that way. He agreed that it would be an interesting venture. (One thing about making suggestions to Monk: you need never fear that he might accept one he considers second-rate merely to be polite or politic.)

In addition to everything else, this album seems to provide a definitive answer for those who - perhaps put off by the unorthodoxies of Thelonious' piano technique - like to claim that he really doesn't play too well. His perfomances here are always highly articulate, often (starting with April in Paris) compellingly lyrical. There is a deep grasp of jazz roots and tradition apparent in the blues, Functional (listening to the playback, Monk said: "I sound like James P. Johnson," which is an exaggeration, but an apt one.) And in all cases it's all right out in the open, where you can't miss it.

The art of literally solo piano has virtually disappeared in current jazz, with bass and drums customarily taking over the one-time role of the pianist's own left hand. While much that is new and valuable has come out of this, there are also piano players with a tendency to sound one-handed, and there are surely few men around who could bring off what Monk accomplishes here. Thelonious, who like many revolutionaries has an almost shocking regard for fundamentals, has always had a strong and able left hand; thus his efforts here retain an explicit beat and, unquestionably, swing. So, if you like, this LP can readily be taken as just one more object lesson to the effect that, whatever the task he turns to, the still-expanding talents of his pioneer jazz modernist enable him to be legitimately different from, and usually superior to, his contemporaries...

Finally, Monk's Mood, where after an opening solo portion, tenor sax and bass are added. When described in advance, this sounded like a break in the unity of the album, but Thelonious insisted that it was entirely fitting. As usual in musical matters, he was right. John Coltrane, the extraordinarily impressive young tenor who came into prominence in 1956 as a member of the Miles Davis Quintet, creates a segment of vast richness and sensitivity, assisted by the equally notable bassist, Wilbur Ware. (Both men went on, just a few months after this recording session, to become part of the original lineup of the remarkable quartet with which Thelonious dazzled New York at the Five Spot Cafe.)

Thelonious Alone In San Francisco

This is an album created, you might say, by stripping things down to the essentials: a bare hall, recording equipment, and one highly talented musician. When that musician is Thelonious Monk, it should not be at all surprising that the result is as intriguing and challenging a program as you could hope to get from any jazz combination of any size.

This remarkably creative pianist has often been considered "alone" (sometimes correctly, sometimes not) during the course of a still-expanding career that spans all of modern jazz. Thelonious was of course a focal point of the "be-bop" revolution of the very early 1940s and he has remained a major force ever since, both through his own work and by his influence on others. There were years when much of the public, most critics and even some musicians left Monk alone, either admitting that he baffled them or claiming that he was merely an over-legendized eccentric. But by the late 1950s, there was widespread recognition of his unique talents (for examples: first place among pianists in the Down Beat Critics Poll and second in their Readers Poll in both '58 and (59), and he remained musically alone only in the sense that so highly personal an artist and composer must always remain somewhat apart and totally understandable only (if to anyone) to himself.

Being "alone" in the specific sense of recording by himself is of course a somewhat different matter, but not too different. This is Monk's second album of this kind; the first ("Thelonious Himself" - RLP 12-235) having been recorded two and a half years earlier, before the current acceptance of Monk began to take hold. In the notes to that LP, I commented that it is not always easy for other musicians, no matter how skilled or sympathetic, to "grasp fully or execute perfectly the intricate and demanding patterns that Monk's mind can evolve," so that one special attraction of a solo album is that it presents the pianist in a self-sufficient vein, offering an opportunity "to hear Thelonious as he thinks and sounds when he has chosen to be, temporarily, complete in himself." All this certainly still holds true for 1959 solo Monk, particularly since his now being a much bigger 'name' than he was early in 1957 is both less surprising and less distracting to Thelonious than it is to just about anyone else. Actually, circumstances combined to add several extra degrees of aloneness to this recording, and to make it perhaps an even more striking example of an artist looking into the depths of himself. Monk was making his first visit to San Francisco (a second solo album had been planned for some time; the coincidence that Thelonious and this writer were both in the West Coast city at the same time brought it into being there). In a long, empty meeting hall - acoustically quite good, but rather bizarre-looking, with Monk sitting on-stage with banks of ancient, ornate chandeliers for background. In a strange city - when photographer Bill Claxton drove him to various landmarks (including the cable-car setting of the cover photo) during a break in the session, it was Monk's first real view of San Francisco. And, although personal matters generally don't belong in liner notes, it might also be relevant that Thelonious had just had to leave his wife behind in Los Angeles, recuperating from major surgery; and that the first recording session came the afternoon after the opening night of his engagement at the Black Hawk - when, due to varied confusions not of his making, Thelonious had been the only member of his quartet on hand for the first two sets.

To what extent all these varieties of aloneness are reflected on the LP is an open question. What is clear is that Monk is in a predominately lyrical and introspective mood, with quiet emphasis on the blues and also with flashes of his characteristic wry humor. Some of the selections make for interesting comparison with previous recorded versions: Pannonica is now less 'tough', more richly a ballad than in the original quintet version on "Brilliant Corners" (RLP 12-226); Blue Monk is more subdued than in the on-the-job quartet effort on "Thelonious in Action" (RLP 12-262). The latter is one of three blues included here, the other two being new ones: Bluehawk, and Round Lights - this last in honor of those chandeliers! Ruby, My Dear has always been a ballad (he had most recently recorded it with Coleman Hawkins on "Monk's Music"-RLP 12-242), but seems still deeper and firmer as a solo.

The other of his own tunes is the appropriately-titled Reflections', and then there are four standards, two of which {Everything Happens and You Took the Words) are old favorites of Monk's, the sort he often plays solo at the start of a set in a club. Remember is a rather affectionate analysis of the Irving Berlin warhorse. But There's Danger in Your Eyes, Cherie, a 1929 number associated with Harry Richman, is something else again, an unplanned-for and unlikely inclusion. Thelonious came across it while leafing through a folio of old standards, recalled it, and proceeded to have a ball with it, exploring it in search of Monk-ish chords, and generally justifying his comment that "they won't be expecting something like this from me."

Solo Monk

Here's Thelonious Monk, once considered the' most far out of jazzmen, opening his solo recital with a version of Dinah. And his left hand strides with an oom-pa beat that might have come directly from the 1920's. Monk's light-hearted spoof is a burlesque of the past, perhaps, but it never ridicules or degrades this era. But it is funny, and if you have any doubts about the humorous intent of this Dinah, listen to Monk's jingling ending. At the same time, the performance bristles with Monkian melodic ideas and Monkian rhythmic delays, which means that it is always intrinsically musical.

On the other end, there is I Should Care, a starkly original succession of piano sounds. Groups of notes sing out sustained, others are abruptly dampened. Left-hand figures trip by lightly and briefly even while previous right-hand notes are still ringing out. I Should Care is the work of a man whose pianistic technique and control are as striking and musically effective, it seems to me, as those of any pianist in any music.

Perhaps I Should Care holds the key to Monk's formidable reputation as a pianist and musician. His point of departure is a superior popular song; but as he transforms it, it is no longer a song - intended to be sung - that happens to be played on a piano. It becomes a two-handed piano work which Monk has recomposed in terms of the keyboard, recomposed in terms of his own original pianistic techniques. Yet for all its originality, its subtlety and its musicality, Monk's I Should Care is still as accessible to almost any listener as the original song itself.

How many jazz pianists - how many popular artists of any kind - would expose themselves so openly as Monk does here in an unaccompanied piano solo album? Perhaps one should approach this recording as Thelonious Monk's tersely individual history of jazz piano. From the point of view of the completely uninitiated, there is definite pedagogical pleasure, for Monk once again revives the traditional idea of basing his variations and improvisations directly on the melody. While it is hard to lose the melody in these performances, it is just as easy to realize that - by leaving out a note here, adding a note there, delaying another note or a phrase, or adding a whole handful of notes - Monkian alchemy can transform the most watery musical idea into gold. Similarly, Monk carries on the idea of a traditional, pulsing oom-pa left hand in several pieces. He strides in Dinah almost like Fats Waller or James P. Johnson as he does on I Hadn't Anyone Till You. And he uses a kind of light abstraction of stride bass on Sweet and Lovely and Everything Happens to Me. There are the two pieces here in traditional blues form. Typically, Monk reassesses the most basic blues ideas in the most remarkably unexpected manner. Yet I am sure that what he does in North of the Sunset would have pleased an older blues man like Jimmy Yancey. Speaking of technique, in Monk's Point is the most refined example I have ever heard of Monk's way of bending a piano note - not of slurring together two successive notes, but actually producing a continuous curve of sound - an "impossible" technique Monk achieves by a careful manipulation of piano keys, pedals, fingers and hand positions.

For further contributions to tradition by T. Monk himself, notice the hefty clusters of notes on I Surrender, Dear. They are not always "harmonious" in the traditional sense, but they are deliberate and effective, including the frequent use of an obvious, quasi-amateurish bass note. Such things save Monk's complex chords from the wishy-washy sentimentality and overripeness of a double-dozen of other modem jazz pianists. Take Sweet and Lovely, one of several unexpected revivals Monk has placed in the jazz repertory. Here the pianist's crisp attack signs the theme so that it is both sweet and lovely but never sentimental; it is not merely "pretty," it is beautiful. Or listen to These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You) and hear how Monk's obliqueness has transformed a self-pitying torch song into a wise and witty blues.

Fortunately, Thelonious Monk has included two of his own best melodies: Ask Me Now, which he here plays with a ringing lyricism, and Ruby, My dear. Monk wrote the latter when he was still in his teens, I am told, and has played it many times since. Yet he performs it here as if he has just discovered it. This is a rare performance, uncompromisingly emotional and, in the end, truly majestic. Monk's piano sings starkly, passionately, in one of those miracles in which human emotion triumphs fully over the mechanics of the keyboard and its hammers and strings. The final touch comes as Monk drops his steady tempo at just the right moment for an ad lib conclusion, without losing musical momentum.

Ruby, My Dear is the work of a man whose technique is placed at the disposal of music. But he does not dazzle us; indeed he does not "show" us anything. He has the true artist's ability to involve us with him so that we seem to be working things out together. He can take the simplest note and make it count in every way because he knows the musical worth of each sound he makes and each silence he allows. In the passion of the moment, he may even strike a note in mistake (as did Schnabel playing Beethoven), but we all know none of this detracts from his greatness.

Monk is a jazzman, surely, and a supreme one. But he is also more than that. He is as rare as an oasis found in the Sahara.

- Martin Williams

  Соисполнители :

John Coltrane (Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone)
Wilbur Ware (Bass)

№ п/п

Наименование трека



   1 01 April In Paris     T       0:03:56 Duke / Harburg
   1 02 I Don't Stand A Ghost Of A Chance With...         0:04:28 Crosby / Washington / Young
   1 03 Functional         0:09:25 Monk
   1 04 I'm Getting Sentimental Over You         0:04:10 Bassman / Washington
   1 05 I Should Care         0:03:19 Cahn / Stordahl / Weston
   1 06 'Round Midnight         0:06:46 Hanighen / Monk / Williams
   1 07 All Alone         0:04:56 Berlin
   1 08 Monk's Mood         0:07:54 Monk
   1 09 Blue Monk         0:03:51 -"-
   1 10 Ruby, My Dear         0:04:02 -"-
   1 11 Round Lights         0:03:39 -"-
   1 12 Everything Happens To Me     T       0:05:40 Adair / Dennis
   2 01 You Took The Words Right Out Of My Heart         0:04:05 Rainger / Robin
   2 02 Bluehawk         0:03:41 Monk
   2 03 Pannonica         0:03:54 -"-
   2 04 Remember     T       0:02:45 Berlin
   2 05 There's Danger In Your Eyes, Cherie         0:04:23 Meskell / Richman / Wendling
   2 06 Reflections         0:05:06 Monk
   2 07 Dinah         0:02:30 Akst / Lewis / Young
   2 08 I Surrender, Dear         0:03:45 Barris / Clifford
   2 09 Sweet And Lovely         0:03:02 Arnheim / LeMare / Tobias
   2 10 North Of The Sunset         0:01:54 Monk
   2 11 Ruby, My Dear         0:05:40 -"-
   2 12 I'm Confessin'     T       0:02:40 That I Love You - Daugherty / Neiburg / Reynolds
   2 13 I Hadn't Anyone Till You     T       0:03:20 Noble
   2 14 Everything Happens To Me     T       0:03:30 Adair / Dennis
   2 15 Monk's Point         0:02:18 Monk
   2 16 I Should Care         0:02:00 Cahn / Stordahl / Weston
   2 17 Ask Me Now         0:04:40 Monk
   2 18 These Foolish Things     T       0:03:35 Link / Marvell / Strachey


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